The Opposite of Salt is Water
Calico is pleased to present The Opposite of Salt is Water, a solo exhibition of recent photography and installation work by Lauren Silberman.
There is a contradiction that exists in the desert about an hour east of Joshua Tree. There is a small town (technically an unincorporated community) mostly abandoned (population of 4) called Amboy that sits on a stretch of Route 66 - the now seldom traveled “Main Street of America.” It sits at the bottom of a valley in the Mojave an hour east of Joshua Tree past the salt flats and ravines of the National Chloride Company.
You can’t miss Amboy. A giant old sign for Roy’s Motel & Cafe rises in the distance after a long stretch of nothing. What seems to be a beacon upon finding it after long stretches of desolate desert road is actually just an old, abandoned motel and a gas station, – a giant something miles from nothing.
A seeming oasis in a vast, literal desert.
But it isn’t an oasis. Roy’s is bright and shiny in the distance, so real and so clear and bright, but there is actually nothing there. No town. No cafe. No hotel. No kitchen. Not even water. Just salt runs out of the tap. It’s a mirage. The opposite of an oasis. Salt is fact and water is fiction in the town of Amboy.
Silberman’s The Opposite of Salt is Water uses images from Amboy and the surrounding desert areas to investigate the ideology and the mythological narratives surrounding the concept of the American Dream and what it means now. An image of a natural oasis set against images of an abandoned town and rest stop on a popular thoroughfare pose the questions: which is the mirage and which is the oasis?
Lauren Silberman lives and works in New York City. She received her MFA from the International Center of Photography-Bard Program in Advanced Photographic Studies and her BA in Art History from Barnard College. She is currently a faculty member at the International Center of Photography. Lauren has completed residencies with A-Z West (Joshua Tree, California, 2018 and 2016), ArtGarda (Italy, 2015), Mana Contemporary (New Jersey, 2015), the Camera Club of New York (NYC, 2012), the Lower Manhattan Cultural Council Workspace program (2009) and was a Visiting Scholar at NYU’s Steinhardt School of Culture, Education, and Human Development. She has performed at Location One, Deitch Projects, and 3rd Ward, as well as the several underground events and venues that have provided inspiration for her work. Silberman also devotes time to curating shows; her recent projects include A Rose is a Rose is A Rose, a one-night show in the garden at Crest Hardware, It was a Pleasure to Burn featuring JoKarlins at the SPRING/BREAK ART SHOW 2017, and Doppelnamer, included in the SPRING/BREAK Art Show in 2016. She has been featured in PDN’s photo annual as emerging talent and exhibited in New York and abroad. Some of Lauren’s commercial clients include The New Yorker, NYLON Magazine, Fortune Magazine, Vice, Details Magazine, Bust Magazine, Brooklyn Industries. Her work has been featured in New York Times Magazine and Vogue Italia.