99¢ Dreams: Jane Dickson's Memories of Past and Present
Jane Dickson what appear to be snapshots from a slow moving vehicle. Some text may be cut off, or a detail of a signpost may be zoomed into, and the hazy memory of the past comes back to you through a sense of place and unknowable time. The works are quiet, which creates a juxtaposition of something eerily peaceful and jarring; NYC when its quiet at night still has a heavy hum. 99¢ Dreams, Dickson's new solo show at James Fuentes in NYC and her first since her work was selected at the 2022 Whitney Biennial (aptly themed Quiet As It's Kept), is both an homage and present tense conversation about New York, with a sense of pandemic isolation and a city that is struggling to once again find its footing.
”At this point in my life, my trajectory is not linear anymore, it's a spiral," Dickson said in the exhibition catalog. "Over the last two years, I had time to reconsider my history. I'm a different person and the world is a different place and this neighborhood, as it stood, no longer exists. This work of Times Square that's from ’80s photos is really the first time I am looking back on something that's gone. Up until now, my subject has been that I'm often looking at things that are anachronistic in the present. […] I think that perspective literally means where you're looking from. I'm not giving you a universal truth: this is what this corner of contemporary reality looks like to me from my spot, right now.”
In this sense, I find Dickson's work akin or in conversation with Matt Bollinger, who we featured in our Spring 2022 edition and also speaks to the American psyche of time both lost and a present so in need of re-examination. Dickson is working from memory, memorializing a time but also understanding that these forgotten places still exist and have a life that hums along, even after you leave. It's a powerful dream. —Evan Pricco