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Titled Driftworks, Charles LaBelle’s new series of photo-based works draw upon the Situationist International concept of the derive, literally “drift” in English, as a strategy for both experiencing the city and challenging our perception of it.Purposefully getting lost and wandering aimlessly in a variety of cities across the world- Marseille, Stockholm, Seoul, London, Venice, Prague, Miami, to name just a few- LaBelle records each “drift” by photographing thousands of details along the way. The resultant 1” square images, cropped out of proof sheets, are put together by hand into large grids. Formally intricate, the tapestry-like works coalesce brightly colored details into subjective maps. The city is, in these works, rearranged and exploded; the systems for understanding the space of the urban environment slips into disorder as images of ordinary structures and objects- buildings, shop signs, bus shelters, dumpsters, doors, soda cans, bicycles, and the occasional passer-by give way to an increasingly abstract vocabulary of unidentifiable bits of detritus, close-ups of architectural details, patterns, shadows and ultimately fields of solid color.

Installation Views

Charles Labelle