"In Situ"

article by Pola Wickham

The domination of a formal language, the understanding of its limits and possibilities, is what gives power and freedom to an artist.
Anna Oswaldo Cruz has from the beginning faced photographic language with both respect and irreverence making of it what she needs.
Her latest series, "In Situ", are photographs at first glance of the overlooked and less recognisable spots of contemporary Barcelona.  Yet, as with all works of art of real interest, they transform and deepen with looking.
Oswaldo Cruz' eye has come to rest on the places she depicts, not judgementally, but appreciatively, without sentimentality, almost lovingly.  She observes each scene, condition of season and weather, and holds the moment with precision and subtlety.
These pictures are exciting because while looking at them they alter before our eyes: first they appear as spaces, silent and full, inhabited and unassuming; then they become flat things, abstractions, made up of shapes, directions, atmospheres and textures.  Attention throbs and oscillates between alternating elements, each part integrally tied to a counterpart.
Therefor pictures are mysterious, containing something which wont reveal itself immediately.  This uncanniness doesn't come from any uncomfortable feeling that all is not as it should be.  Instead it derives from an unidentified impression of familiarity, of something previously encountered, perhaps only briefly, in another configuration of place, weather and season.
Simultaneously physical visual harmonies and dissonances stimulate the eye.  Each image luxuriates in sequences of textures, filled with precisely observed colour and constructed with meticulously considered intervals and repetitions.
Oswaldo Cruz' photographs, with apparent simplicity locate us, and without provoking us with socio-psychology or politics, allow us to extract a personal story.  They are a charm in the modern maelstrom of art making and their quiet potential uplifts and grounds at one fell swoop.
Pola Wickham, Rome 2011