by Kelly Pahl
Ice skating around an enormous Christmas tree, demonstrators camping out to protest government ethics, brides taking their wedding photographs at a local park, graffiti everywhere you look. This is a preview of what you will see in Kenneth Basile’s photographs on view from October 7 to November 9 in the University Gallery exhibition,
All these sights most of us have seen before, but not in the city you’re thinking of; a much more colorful backdrop. Basile’s contemporary photographs showcase Mexico City. He takes a step further than we are used to in exploring the outlandish, but surprisingly tranquil lifestyle of a city. We explore with Basile, behind his lens, in a setting which guarantees surprising pops of color and contrasting subject matter, with each corner turned, experiencing the tourist turned local view of Mexico City.
In Skating Rink, ice skaters show off their moves on the Zócalo in 75 degree weather, with the Mexican flag flying high in front of a cathedral that dates back to 1573.
In “Veracruz 400” Protestors, semi-nude demonstrators reveal their leather-toned bodies, which pan across sidewalks and streets dancing to drums, gaining recognition for negotiations with the Veracruz Government.
What appears to be a bride is actually a 15-year-old girl attending her Fiesta de Quinceañera. Quinceaños in Mexico Park shows a young girl outside of Mexico Park about to attend her birthday party. The enormous, boldly colored fuchsia splashed onto her cream-colored ball gown, mimics the bouquet of fuchsias which she grasps in her hands. With her engaging stare into Basile’s camera, we feel the anticipation and excitement built up inside of her for this milestone. Her bold tones and anticipation are forced towards us when we compare her to the two boys that frame her, one in a relaxed contrapposto position.
Key photographs in Basile’s portfolio capture the sculpture in Mexico City, some popping up on the edge of the beltway, to other contrasting views of sculpture like Aves Dos. Basile captures a contrast between this electric orange sculpture, standing in what looks to be an abandoned, overgrown park which is in fact volcanic landscape. Around the sculpture is garbage, which mirrors the graffiti and cracking paint on the sculpture. The weathered paint, scattered garbage and graffiti humanize these Two Birds (Aves Dos translated) and show the affects of the sculpture’s location within the “University City” of Universidad Nacional Autónoma De México, a UNESCO World Heritage site.
Mexico City, an environment exuding a bold and playful, lively color palette, amalgamated with Basile’s interpretation of daily life in this city, come together to display an extremely visually indulgent adventure for the eyes.
If you’d like to discover the surprises this city of hidden treasures has to offer, come by the Fulton Hall Gallery this October, to see the works of an old friend of the gallery, Kenneth Basile, as he takes us on a voyage below the border, in Snapshots.
The University Gallery is located in Fulton Hall at Salisbury University, between Holloway Hall and the tennis courts. An opening reception will be held on Saturday, October 8, from 4-6 p.m.