Meredith James explores the workings of perception, the fallibility of observation, and the inconsistency between what one sees and what is before them through her interpretation of a typical Ames Room.
An “Ames Room” is a three-walled trapezoidal interior room built with a false perspective. While it may seem to be any ordinary room, an Ames Room will appear to be growing or shrinking from a specific viewpoint, as a person walks from one side of the room to the other. For her site-specific work, James builds on this concept, translating the traditional room into a formal garden, complete with statues and topiary, and fabricating a park-within-a-park.
Inspired by the 1961 film “L’Année dernière à Marienbad”, Far from this setting in which I now find myself appears surreal and dreamlike and opens itself to Socrates Sculpture Park’s landscape, furthering the complexity of its illusion. This relationship to space and vision grants us mobility between fantasy and reality, and challenges the viewer to question the relationship between what is seen, what others see, and what is actually present.
On weekends in September and October 2014, the artist attended her installation to photograph park visitors and document them in the optical illusion. Images above are a selection of photographs James took on September 14, 2014.