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Roberto Fernández Ibanez
Corden Potts, San Francisco, California
Recommendation by DeWitt Cheng

Roberto Fernandez Ibanez, from the series "Afterfracking," 2017, unique manipulated silver gelatin print

Continuing through March 10, 2018

The silver-gelatin photographs elaborated into mixed media, unique objects of Roberto Fernández Ibáñez can be said to be indexical in the photographic sense. But also, given his interest in environmental issues and in scientific graphing or illustration, in terms of the subject matter: climate change as reflected in hard scientific data is the basis for his images and improvisation. In “Sorcerer’s Apprentice (Approaching the Irreversible),” a show guest-curated by Kate Contakos of Atelier Contakos, we are given thirteen small but concentrated meditations on the temptations of science run amok — the mindless brooms summoned by the novice magician of “Fantasia”. Fernández Ibanez visually considers the real-world consequences of technological power bereft of knowledge or judgment.  

Five works from his “Melting Point” series transform jagged graphs of numerical data, via the manipulation of the emulsions (the Uruguayan artist is a professional chemist) into lyrical blue landscapes depicting the relentless melting of the Antarctic. Closer to home, but just as discomfiting, are the eight “Afterfracking” works, in earthy umbers, that are based on scanned elevations of fracking sites. ”Afterchem,” “Afterrip,” “Aftergas,” “Afterbang” and “Afterfracking” depict the geology as riven and fragile, at the brink of collapse. If Leonardo’s studies of scientific phenomena like flowing water led him to imagine catastrophic inundations, the science-act-based art of Fernández Ibáñez help us to think about the unthinkable.

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