- magazine: David Ebony’s Top Ten

David Ebony's Top Ten
John Roloff at Lance Fung

California artist John Roloff titled his exhibition "Morphology of Change," an allusion to his interest in the relationship between nature and architecture. In the main gallery he's removed one of the large windows and installed a 30-foot-long elevated box made of wood and Plexiglas. Titled Holocene Terrace, the box is closed on all sides except the one opening out to the street. Roloff's design allows light and air to reach the inside of the container, the bottom of which is lined with moss. In a symbolic, bi-coastal gesture, one half of the moss was imported from California while the other half comes from Massachusetts. Over the course of the exhibition the moss will evolve. Most likely the greenery placed furthest from the window will become dormant and turn brown, while the rest will thrive in the open air.

In the computer-manipulated photo works on display in the rear gallery, Roloff produces another type of displacement. Here, he removes a rectangular center from each photo of trees or dense forests, so that the image itself becomes a frame. This series of large works, titled Landscape Projections, places the viewer in a position of looking up and out toward the void. In the vein of classic Conceptualism, Roloff conveys a kind of Zen feeling of perfect nothingness, even though the works' visual language seems not so far removed from that of a Tiepolo ceiling fresco.

John Roloff, "Morphology of Change," Nov. 11-Dec. 18, 1999, at Lance Fung Gallery, 537 Broadway, New York, N.Y. 10012.