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Paul Wilson's Photos at Allen Street Hardware

Paul Wilson's exhibit opens at Allen Street Hardware with a reception on March 23.

Stop and Stare

Photographer Paul Wilson begins his artist’s statement by explaining, “The photographs themselves are the result of my experimentation in learning to use a camera and film in my daily life. They have no specific meaning or intent, nor does their significance in grouping exist in any way other than the autobiographical or the individual inferences of the viewer.” Wilson may avoid use of a narrative, but he makes use of shadows to fully convey the mood. The shadows wrap around forms, obscure faces, and delve into each corner. Just as Wilson uses the contrast of dark and light, he creates images steeped with the extreme heat of summer or the frigid chill of winter. The moments Wilson has chosen to capture are not fleeting, are not rushing, and are not relaxed. These moments are indifferent, unassuming, concrete. Wilson is somehow able to portray lawn furniture as aloof. The people in these photographs are nonchalant. Even in vulnerable moments, the subjects appear unfazed. It is as if Wilson is not stopping these moments, but the moments are stopping Wilson himself. The viewer is left feeling the impact of these images while the subjects don’t seem to be affected in the slightest. The domestic scenes seem at once familiar and completely foreign. Perhaps you recognize the house or the subject, until you are struck with a sense of self-consciousness because these people are probably too cool to have ever hung out with you.

Wilson ends his straightforward artist’s statement by stating, “It’s winter in Buffalo right now. The winter makes everyone go a little strange. I don’t think anyone is immune.” This vague and dreamy observation seems meant to throw the reader off guard, just as Wilson’s photographs do.

In Defense of the Cardboard Castle will be on view at Allen Street Hardware Café (245 Allen Street) in the back room gallery through April 23. The exhibit opens March 23 at 6pm. There will be prints available for purchase and live music.

jill greenberg

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