Sam Scott Schiavo – excerpts from La Solitudine (2013)

This post presents the images as a triptych whereas on Schiavo’s website it’s a five panel progression.

I am not sure how to process it. None of the images considered individually are especially strong.

However, re-constructed as a triptych, the separate images form a cohesive whole: water droplets and reflections in the glass separating the subject from the camera diminish as the eye moves downward; the elbow’s reiteration strangely enforces as continuity between the top and center frame, easing transition.

Whereas, the discontinuity between the absence of the hand and arm in the center frame eases what would other be an especially jarring re-framing.

I dig the the images as a triptych. The difficulty I have is the individual images aren’t strong enough to stand on their own. And to me that’s one of the prerequisites of the polyptych form. Granted I am not well-versed in the formal conventions beyond altarpieces, Van Eych and Bosch.

Familiarity with the form is certainly important but there is something disingenuous about cramming a work into a form as a remedy for one-dimensional conceptualization and lackluster execution.

And that is a shame because in the age of iPhone panoramas and automated photostitch programs there are a few image makers who are creating fascinating polyptych’s. The ones that jump immediately to mind are: David Hilliard, Accra Shepp & Tom Spianti.

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