The Lying, Cheating Heart of Photography
Jennifer Zwick takes photographs of the galleries at the Frye Art Museum after the art has been removed. The conditions under which you would have seen the art are exactly the same—temporary walls, benches situated for ideal viewing, and lighting, especially lighting. The missing objects are replaced by these leftover conditions, which take on a majestic fictional life of their own, lived only in photographs that are as ordered and finished as landscape paintings. They even have horizon lines where the gallery walls and the floor meet.
Zwick's Robyn O'Neil: Oh, How the Heartless Haunt Us All is in the great little group show Façade, curated by Chris Engman at SOIL, which presents 12 examples of the lying, cheating, irresistible heart of photography.
Ain't photography grand? Todd Simeone takes a picture of a beat-up record jacket for Air Supply's 1981 album The One That You Love, but removes the band name and replaces the hot air balloon in the center of the picture with a photographer's flash hovering in the vast blue sky over a sliver of gray mountains. Thom Heileson shoots with old, broken cameras and layers negatives to make a foggy, Turneresque composite. Claude Zervas's flat cross of mismatched woodgrains looks like the flayed skin of a single anthropomorphic log.
Isaac Layman's Bookcase is a straight-on, documentary-style view of a bookcase whose books have been turned spines back, yellowing pages out. But subtler secrets emerge in prolonged looking. Slowly, what at first appears as a single bookcase reveals itself to be a collage of images from several different bookcases, digitally sewn together into a Frankenstein's monster of a shelving unit. The seams are so smooth that you might never have noticed, if not for that first visual break you caught.