Lucid Culture


Photo Review: Traces and Avenues – Photos from Moment: Une Revue de Photo

Curator Cecilia Muhlstein has pulled together some terrific shots from the well-liked art photo journal, making it well worth a trip to the Safe-T Gallery, Down Under the Manhattan Bridge Overpass, i.e. in DUMBO this weekend before the exhibit closes on February 3. Galina Kurlat steals the show: as usual, her photos literally reach out and grab you. Her current focus is the traces of experience (translation: trauma) left on skin. There are sepia-toned close-ups of a woman reaching around and violently grabbing herself from behind; a hard-to-identify, grotesque shot of folds of flesh, and what appears to be a scar on the bottom of someone’s foot. Intense, to say the least.

Leo Theinert really has a handle on the irony of American iconography. On display here are his black-and-white images of a downtrodden old guy wearing an American flag shirt, forlornly pedaling an adult-size tricycle, as well as a rundown Old West-style single-story house, a horse (or is it a cow? the angle makes it hard to tell) chasing a cow around to the front.

Joanna Tam also has two captivating black-and-whites on display, the first a view seemingly taken while running through a graveyard, shot at a low angle as if seen through a child’s completely spooked eyes, as well as an interior shot of empty chairs inside a wood shack that gives the viewer a queasy sense of being in motion.

Kelly Anderson-Staley makes authentic ambrotypes using an 19th century wet-plate process. Her completely candid, rustic-looking contemporary portraits here are styled darkly in sepia; the best shows a woman with a completely perplexed, somewhat vexed expression.

Angel Amy Moreno’s lone contribution here is a subtly mysterious view of a woman taken from behind as she makes her way out from under a walkway into the light, toward a bus stop. It wasn’t taken in America – Mexico City? Italy? – and resonates with the energy of Moreno’s subject’s resolute path out of the darkness.

There are also photos which appear in Peter Lucas’ forthcoming book The Last Hour of Summer: Found Photographs from Rio de Janeiro, 1962/3, taken by an amateur photographer, Orizon Carneiro Muniz in the last days before the military coup. They’re casual and somewhat lo-fi, as one would expect, yet a vivid look at the last sunny days there before the regime of terror took over. Carneiro Muniz died shortly after taking the photos; the book will cover the provenance of the photos and Lucas’ detective work to discover who took them.

The gallery also has a collection of politically conscious, deviously witty, square and rectangular shellacked pendants by Maureen Kelleher for sale. The best has rubberstamps from the Louisiana State Penitentiary superimposed on New Jersey lottery tickets.

[Editor’s note – The Safe-T-Gallery closed its doors in the summer of 2009]

February 1, 2008 Posted by | Art, Reviews | , , , , , , , , , , , , , | Leave a comment