A kind of precarity runs through FRET SCAPES, stemming from the exhibit’s tense climate of sagging letters and shadowy streets. There is a preoccupation with attempting to grasp that which is fleeting, redolent in the camera’s attempt to capture quickly falling water-bounded letters or fix an image of the ghostly outlines of two pairs of palms on a dusty door of the subway.
Yet, despite the abundance of transient moments passing through Ebner’s exhibition, there is a call to pay attention to the physicality of things. The show prompts us to turn our gazes and thoughts to the matter which constitutes these spectral photographic moments of everyday life and the words used to describe them. As Ebner’s poem FRET ends, the impalpable voice of a writer on the horizon calls to all of us, “FRET TO THE LEFT / & THEN FRET / TO THE RIGHT. / A LANDSCAPE OF / DIRT FORMS ITS / SHAPE NOTES, / CALLS OUT / INTO THE NIGHT, / FIGHT &/OR FLIGHT.” In FRET SCAPES, words take on a physical shape, expanding beyond immaterial meaning. To pay attention to this matter is to take heed of Ebner’s verse.