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Something about Things: Rachel Cox’s Some Points
A camera points. Or it frames what it points to, acting as an indicator of things in the world. The early 20th century philosopher Charles Sanders Peirce identified the photographic image as a type of semiotic sign, a function of how we derive meaning. “There are indications, or indices; which show something about things, on account of their being physically connected with them,” he wrote in his 1894 essay What is a Sign?. He explained that such a sign can act as “a guidepost, which points down the road to be taken, or a relative pronoun, which is placed just after the name of the thing intended to be denoted, or a vocation exclamation ‘Hi! there. . . ‘”
In this exhibition, Post-MFA Fellow in Photography at the Lamar Dodd School of Art, Rachel Cox, presents a body of in-process work which points to “something about things.” Cox traveled around the Southeast visiting state fairs and local competitions, photographing the uncanny phenomena she encountered at these events. The photos frame and highlight objects, prized possessions, well-groomed and cultivated for a specific connoisseur —a winning apple, a first-place Christmas tree, a “7th best kitten” ribbon, a pigeon with its wings delicately splayed. Cox hopes the images prompt the viewer to consider how we attach meaning, that is value, to any one sign: “I’m interested in how we attribute value to objects,” she explains. “And how that process might be linked to representation, the way in which we view photographs.”
Peirce also maintained that the photograph is intrinsically attached to that which it represents, that it is “physically forced to correspond point by point to nature.” In investigating subjective aesthetics, Rachel Cox uses the photographic slip of mimesis to show the “best” of what nature can achieve. As such, she playfully subverts our understanding of what is natural, pointing to some things.
Katie Geha / Director / Dodd Galleries