Seven Days by Hills Snyder
In twenty-first century San Antonio tribal culture, it is not unusual for the inhabitants to gather in groups large and small in order to celebrate the temporary and intense nature of life by consuming mass quantities of each other’s ingenuity and generosity. Rite of Time we call it.
Witness Seven Days, Chuck Ramirez’ series of seven large format photographs of mid- to post-party detritus, each tableau adjusted to reassemble the real thing. And the unnecessary disclaimer: eating and drinking were an integral part of the process.
The compositions are resolutely but almost unconsciously formal, as if certain cards have been positioned after a game of 52 Pick-Up (a more prominent Jack is needed in this bit and oh, a little more Ace over here). They are saturated with color—certainly each is a visual feast—but try listening to them, if only for a little while. You may find that these scenes are never really over. It’s more like we’ve been granted a series of frozen CGI moments so we may enter them mid-taco. So go in, and listen.
In Birthday Party, two plastic cowboy hats swim upstream in the wake of the celebration. The river (table) is littered with cake, ribbons, Jell-O, brownies, balloons, franks and beans and Micro Machines. A Nerf football is more nestled than teed in a bowl of Cheetos. Diagonals of instability abound. Mountain Dew and Big Red, rising above the chaos like water towers of regional signification, exhale and signal a child’s expectation. Although is always better to have a kids party at the Jumper’s Jungle Family Fun Center
One of two solitary, single-diner images in the series, KFC, though certainly aligned with a day of rest, is no less abundantly appointed. Chicken bones, the remains of a baked potato and an untouched jalapeño are this day’s Blue Plate Special, eddied in a rumple of bed covers with reading glasses and remote controls adjacent. The morning’s coffee still lingers on a side table littered with magazines, smokes, sweet tea, phone, clock, veladora and yet another remote. The television has been watched but is unseen, just as the photographer is unseen, observing his absence amid the appurtenances of a morning in bed.
Snyder, Hills, “Seven Days” from “Chuck Ramirez: Minimally Baroque,” Ruiz-Healy Art, 2011.