"Glimmer" by Will Rogan

Will Rogan presents quietly intricate photographs and sculpture that continue his pursuit of finding the extraordinary in his everyday urban surroundings in his solo exhibition at Altman Siegel Gallery (through November 6, 2010). This provides him a path by which he explores themes of time, impermanence, relationships, and fragility. Similar visual elements also repeat: eyes, light reflected off shiny surfaces, portraits.

Each theme or visual element will pop up in several pieces, but none is present in all of the works. For the viewer, it presents a fun game of “find the similarities” among the different works; they are evident in big ways and small details. In several instances, themes loop over themselves, adding layers and complexity.

Viewing the Past as it Happens, Men Versus Clock: the Unequal Struggle, and The Elusive Nature of Time are each a photograph of a spread from a book about time; the titles of the works are the topic that is covered in the spread. The book itself is clearly dated. It has become a victim of the topic it addresses. The photographs themselves document a moment, which immediately becomes the past. They can never capture the present because as soon as they do, it is gone. Nothing is permanent.

Impermanence is also present in Can and Glimmer. Each image features an instant of the sun hitting a reflective surface – an aluminum can in the former; a piece of broken mirror in the latter – providing a flash of brightness in an otherwise dull and ugly landscape. These are two more examples of Rogan highlighting something “fantastic,” however brief, where otherwise we would see only decay.

Rogan has that wonderful ability to create work that is both complicated – there’s so much going on it can make your brain hurt, or alternatively jump for joy – as well as peacefully evocative. At times images are downright elegant and beautiful. When drawing our attention to a googly eye reflected in a mirror in The Floor, he also permits that serious are can be quite playful.