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Members Show at CEPA Gallery

Jean-Michel Reed's photographs in the CEPA Gallery's members show.

Crossing Over

An entry in the CEPA members show by Mike Andrew Yood looks and sounds like a subtle warning to artists. It consists of a small photo of what looks at first glance like a porcupine crossing a yellow road stripe, but on second glance turns out to be porcupine road kill. And handwritten text about the artist’s resolve to “no longer focus on…that which I am comfortable with but on that which is uncomfortable.”

The road kill image is certainly not a comfortable one. But the deeper message seems to be about what can happen to the artist—as porcupine—when he ventures across the yellow line into alien and dangerous territory. But bravo to him then.

Speaking of crossing yellow lines—here think of police tape—Jean-Michel Reed has a series of about a dozen basically journalistic shots capturing public/private scenes such as the aftermath of automobile accidents and like disasters, and associated emotional toll on the hapless disaster victims.

A few of these look like archival photos from an earlier era, underscoring the universality or generality of personal calamity. Several are of building fires, one of Reed’s favorite subjects. A central photo in the series depicts unadulterated grief—double grief, even—wherein a distraught man attempts to comfort a woman likely in even worse shape, hurriedly clothed, on the street, in the wake of some unrevealed catastrophe.

An outstanding work previously described in this space but through an uncanny total lapse of consciousness on the part of the writer ascribed to another photographer is by Joshua Zaccarine. As previously described, it is a work of heroic sensibility. It shows a gargantuan façade of an industrial structure or perhaps continuous row of structures in the background. An enormous snow-covered, windswept urban open space in the foreground. And small and obscure in the middle distance, a solitary human figure trekking across the wasteland.

Francisco Hernandez-Ilizaliturri has a spectacular golden-glow depiction of a portion of the Prudential Building, capturing the delicate magic of the terra cotta and sturdy magnificence of the high arches culminating in roofline ocular windows and emphatic cornice.

Liz Lee has a beautiful photo of a huge leaf or leaves in advanced state of deterioration—so part positive image leaf, part negative image absence of leaf—overlying a dimly visible, barely legible, fragment of text possibly about a medical procedure that it seems like may not be successful.

A huge multiple-exposure work in yellows and browns by Irene Haupt transforms what looks like a formal garden staircase architectural element into a monumental flight of stairs reminiscent of Renaissance Italy, reminiscent of Egypt.

In another work about a formal garden, Kathleen Campbell has a lovely photo of the garden at Versailles blanketed in new snow, tempering the superabundance of baroque artificiality, leaving visible just the main features of curlicue ornamentation (if anyone of a modern sensibility ever found the full panoply of baroque decoration excessive).

Kate Parzych makes photos that seem devoid of content but are actually dense with content, such as the present photo looking into what could be a vapor cloud above the reflecting pool in Washington, D.C., or could be the liquid water.

From the sublime to the comical. Laura Snyder presents a random series of iPhonography photos from over the course of a week. Some more successful—or at any rate more decipherable—than others, but for the most part throwaways. An occasional keeper, but only because technology has made storage possibilities easy and practically infinite.

And Patricia Ambrogi has a huge depiction of conservative icon Sarah Palin made up of a million or so tiny images of elephants, pitbulls, lipstick, targets, and even a map of Russia.

Works of more than a hundred members are on exhibit at CEPA Gallery (617 Main Street) through March 19.

jack foran

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