Critics’ Picks

Irina Rozovsky, Untitled (Traditions Highway), 2018, pigment print, 30 x 40 3/4".

Irina Rozovsky, Untitled (Traditions Highway), 2018, pigment print, 30 x 40 3/4".


Irina Rozovsky

Critical Path Method
1512 Bolton Street
February 12–April 8, 2022

Irina Rozovsky’s solo exhibition here features sixteen photographs and a giant wall-based text piece—all created between 2015 and 2021—alongside a selection of sourced landscape paintings by unknown artists, picked up at roadside shops. The show is focused around Rozovsky’s journey along Route 15, a Georgia state thoroughfare that’s also known as “Traditions Highway,” which also happens to be the title of this affecting presentation.

Signs recorded while driving north on GA RT 15 “Traditions Highway” on October 11, 2021, the larger-than-life concrete poem, displays snippets of ready-made language that the artist saw as the Southern landscape rolled by, including church reader-board lines, election campaign slogans, gas station messages about “pay[ing] at the pump,” and notices for free Covid-19 vaccines. The piece is like a diary of sorts and beautifully records the passage of time as the artist—who was born in Russia but currently resides in Athens, Georgia—drove on Route 15 taking pictures of various sights and subjects, including a couple on the verge of sharing a sweet kiss, a woman gazing at the viewer past her meal at a wooden table, and a young mother with her child on Christmas morning. My favorite photograph here, Untitled (Traditions Highway), 2018, features an abandoned white horse carriage: a fantastical, anachronistic object that initially pushed me into a deep nostalgic reverie…until my eyes landed on the junky blue tarp and bottle of Sprite nearby.

The nostalgia, the longing for the slowness of the South, is also felt in Baltimore, a town that flirts with just how Southern it actually is. The gallery is located in the Bolton Hill neighborhood, where you can trace vestiges of the racially restrictive covenants and discriminatory redlining of the United States. I’ve heard, colloquially, Baltimore being referred to as the upper South, though it is markedly different from the molasses (or film-developing) slowness of Georgia. I imagined the click of Rozovsky’s analog camera as her car traversed Traditions Highway, invisible threads connecting moments frozen in time across space, revealed for our delectation here.