"Second Look"

by Marilyn Waligore
Excerpt from Catalog Essay accompanying the Exhibition "Second Look"
University of Texas at Dallas, 2004

Kathy Lovas encourages us to draw connections between disparate materials through her arrangement of photographic images, sculptural objects, and painterly surfaces. Her photographs become like the materials in her installation, physical matter that occupies space and insists upon its presence. Unlike the transitory nature of photographic paper, Lovas’ photographs are solid, affixed to wood. “Company House” includes materials that allude to the work of German artist Joseph Beuys, such as a wool blanket, shredded newspaper, and a steel pail. We sense that these materials, like Beuys’ fat and felt, have a strong personal meaning for the artist and perform a symbolic function in the work. Presented in the gallery in a manner emphasizing spareness, these objects provide clues to the viewer without revealing all the details of the narrative. For Lovas, photographs function as artifacts; over time they accumulate, revealing cultural and historical information about the past.

As viewers we are asked to decipher the relationships among these elements, in order to arrive at our own narrative. A caption accompanies each photographic fragment, at times fostering disjunction rather than resolution. How do we reconcile the image of a young girl with the caption “back porch” or the photograph of a boy with the caption “ice rink”? We are invited to look beyond these snapshots of children to read the valuable information in the background, details that reference a locale. These wood planks with photographs, leaning up against the wall like a fence, suggest the periphery of a house or yard. Likewise, the gleaming pail set upon a wood pallet may symbolize a pier and beam foundation or a water pump. A blue field, interrupted by collage elements, could by sky or water, areas of open space signifying potential. For Lovas, “Company House” connects to personal history. She attempts to discover her past as she searches for a particular geographical location, the site of a house. She states that “Company House” can be viewed as a puzzle. The puzzle concerns a search for a house, a search both futile and satisfying at the same time.” Lovas’ search for her roots has led her on a journey that remains unresolved, pointing to the fact that photographs, like objects, can reveal only a portion of a tale.  

Back to Press