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Sally Clark
Binh Danh
Ian Everard
James Fee
Shelby Graham
Hanna Hannah
Robin Kandel
Aaron Kerner
Elyse Koren-Camarra
Keith Muscutt
Katsushige Nakahashi
Rebecca Ramos
Hideki Shiozawa
Robynn Smith
Kenji Yanobe
 
James Fee

Not since Robert Frank has a photographer captured the American experience with such a piercing sociological vision. Unlike Frank, however, James Fee's work does not exhibit the raw exterior of that experience, but rather, the uncanny specters that haunt it. Space and memory for Fee are intimately connected. Although Fee is predominantly concerned with the American landscape (e.g., New York City, San Francisco, shipyards, defunct factories), and the memories woven into these territories, it is the Peleliu series that is presented here.

Peleliu is a small South Pacific Island, that, during the Second World War witnessed an intense struggle between American and Japanese forces. The Japanese had changed their defensive tactics, and a battle that the Americans believed would only last a couple of days, lasted months. (In fact, some Japanese troops had dug themselves in so well, that some soldiers were unaware that the war had ended years earlier).

In this remote location, the American (and Japanese) experience still permeates the landscape. Like some of the other artists exhibited here (e.g., Clark, Everard to a certain degree, Ramos, and Smith) the natural progression of time (re)claims these historical sites; the memories that are figured in the wreckage of warfare, are corroded, rusted hulks of partial memory, memory effaced by time. The landscape, then, in Fee's work functions on a multiplicity of levels. The regeneration of the landscape, the weeds, the trees, the vines that all but hide the scarred terrain, recalls the resiliency of life. The fact remains, however, that these ruins of war are still there, some barely visible, and this calls attention to the fragility of human memory; memory that is repressed, neglected, kept as private episodes. Fee's images, by collapsing the continuity of time and space - bringing the past and the present together in the same frame - illustrates the uncanny presence of the American (and Japanese) experience in Peleliu.

Often Fee juxtaposes contemporary photographs of Peleliu, the tropical paradise, with photographs his father took during the American offensive against Japanese forces there. The compositions are not only visually invigorating, but they also convey the disjunction of time. The images embody the vision and memory of Russel Fee, while at the same time illustrating James Fee's own attempt to resurrect that memory, to locate, to give physical form to his father's memory.

 
 
 
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James Fee Work 2 James Fee Work 3
James Fee Work 4