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August 1st, 2001 Lisa Lambert | Visual Arts
 

Caught in Midstride

Nine photographers wallow in their own disjecta.

     
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Disjecta membra is a Latin term for the detritus of literary creation, mainly disjointed portions or parts of poetry, but sometimes an author's quotes or rough drafts. Cut gingerbread men out of cookie dough and the floured scrap left is, in a way, disjecta.

For gallery operator Bryan Suereth, disjecta allow us to catch artists in midstride, on their way to becoming "accomplished." The current show, 100 Photo Gallery, takes this tack with some photographers' recent work. The exhibition itself is a mixture of experiments, successes, refined pieces and almost-there work, hung on clean white walls with the artists' names stenciled alongside.

Whitney Hubbs' minimalist untitled pieces portray grass as a green, calming haze, while her Map series pinpoints specific locations on a map, leaving surrounding points in a soft blur. Jamie Bell zooms in on rock 'n' roll apparatus: microphones, instruments and equipment stand still and unshaken by music in the center of the frames. Sabrina Guitart's untitled series portrays dramatic and sensual women (muses) amid rain and gloom. But one photo, a woman pushing her heavily made-up face against a car window, looks melodramatic and forced, unable to communicate whatever feeling inspired the piece. It's at odds with the elegance of Guitart's other works.

In the case of Eric McCormack's contributions, the experiments have succeeded. He jumped away from conventional methods and laser-printed the series Ruin, which features a naked blue man caught in a landscape of wooden poles. McCormack's work is the most consistent of the entire exhibition. The laser printing blurs the color and pixelates the images so that they seem enshrouded in a blue mist.

Looking at the photos, especially the vague Anonymity #3, Anonymity #7 and Succumb #9 that show the blue man crouching, is like examining an X-ray of your internal organs--everything is both familiar and alien. In one work, mauve and purple leaves burst in the background. In another, an overturned grocery cart's wheel crosses into the frame. The artist is winking, almost. After landing us in a strange place, he's provided landmarks for navigation, but they're so incongruous that it makes the place seem stranger.

Bill Daniel has fashioned an oversized pinhole camera that he hauls cross-country in a van. He opens the van's door to expose his film and create landscape photos. He's hung the landscapes alongside framed postcards from where he's traveled, guiding us through his act of creation (incorporating his disjecta) to the final product. The completed display imparts the sensation of "being there," with the landscapes suggesting, more than depicting, the atmosphere that surrounds the van and its occupant.

All of the work in the show imparts this sense of being a part of a process, of being an artist taking risks, making choices and committing to a piece. The risk factor is what, ultimately, makes disjecta's 100 Photo Gallery worth seeing.


disjecta
116 NE Russell St., 493-7353. Noon-5 pm Wednesday- Sunday




The Elk Creek Cinema takes over Disjecta at 9 pm Wednesday, Aug. 1. The New York group mixes its 16mm films with puppetry and zine readings.




100 Photo Gallery closes in mid-August.
 
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