Tuesday, November 11, 2008

Narrative

Word: Narrative

Definition:
1. a story or account of events, experiences, or the like, whether true or fictitious.
2. a book, literary work, etc., containing such a story.
3. the art, technique, or process of narrating: Somerset Maugham was a master of narrative.
–adjective
4. consisting of or being a narrative: a narrative poem.
5. of or pertaining to narration: narrative skill.
6. Fine Arts. representing stories or events pictorially or sculpturally: narrative painting. Compare anecdotal (def. 2).

Nar"ra*tive\, a. [Cf. F. narratif.]
1. Of or pertaining to narration; relating to the particulars of an event or transaction.
2. Apt or inclined to relate stories, or to tell particulars of events; story-telling; garrulous.

http://dictionary.reference.com/browse/narrative
"narrative." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 11 Nov. 2008. .

My reason for choosing this word is because I really want to explore this topic of depicting and showing an event that has happened. I want, for next semester, to begin doing a project that incorporates depicting events and or transactions in my photography. I want to start doing stuff, like the people from Yale. I like that deadpan sort of narrative tableaux that they are producing so well. The formal shots, the events that took place, the implied narrative that goes along with all of that. I feel that I want to do something that involves people and to make the viewer really question and explore the photograph to find subtle clues to things that have transpired in an image. I think I may be jumping the gun, but I feel that, in all honesty, this is where my work should go and should develop into.

Artist 1: Nathan Baker




Image 1: "Ashes", 2006. 60 x 75 in. Digital Inkjet?
Image 2: "Bath", 2006/7. 48 x 60 in. Digital Inkjet?

I like his work because of this sense of stillness that of an event that just happened. The event seems to have just happened and we are the witnesses of whatever it is he is depicting. This eerie sense overcomes the viewer as we dissect the image and its messages. I feel that this aesthetic is something that I can get into and want to aim and shoot for in my later work at VCU.

Rupture, Part One

In Being and Time, Heidegger describes the “Present at Hand” as a situation that arises
when things break down; when the routine of life pauses and the door is opened for basic,
unmediated humanity to step in and replace the automata of contemporary rigor. Such
moments are inflections on how we function on a most basic level, without the societal
and psychological influences that we have grown to rely upon.

This work, titled Rupture, Part One aims to portray this idea visually. Consisting of Large
Format Color Photography, Video, and Sound Installation, the work approaches this idea
from multiple angles. Two distinct veins of photographic work describe both a first person
perspective that presents the viewer with a representation of Present at Handedness, and
a voyeuristic perspective that allows the viewer the spectacle of watching another in the
thrall of this experience. Thirdly, a meditation on the context of this moment – a direct
comparison between before, after, and during the experience that defines the banality that
exists outside of this moment, is provided by the video work.

Separated into two distinct groups, the photographs provide a shift for the viewer between
experiencing the moment themselves and the ability to witness another in the same
situation. The pictures sans people focus on the confrontational aspect of a common
accident. Objects that are “ready to hand” (defined as things, often taken for granted,
that exist as a standing reserve for use) have taken on a new role – one that beckons us
to disregard our context of comfort and react innately to the loss of this ready-to-
handedness. It’s almost as though the objects we have put into servitude have decided
to form a coup d’├ętat against our normality and force us to realize the futility in
contriving our lives in this manner.

The next group of photographs depicts scenarios in which people are in this static state -
after being presented with a stimulus, yet before a conscious reaction. This is the moment
of the Present at Hand, when the things we have taken for granted step up and remind us
of our humanity. The pictures present a perfectly eerie stillness – one that pervades
throughout the scenario and represents the shattering of one’s assumed identity in
relation to their constructed context.

Lastly, the video work takes on the responsibility of providing a comparative context in
which to deconstruct the scenario. We plainly see the normality that precedes the event,
and, like a real experience, are hard-pressed to actually witness the fleeting moment that
transforms our context from the Ready at Hand to the Present at Hand. We are left with
the aftermath of the accident – an entrance into understanding the phenomenon that is
our only path to realizing the experience.

http://www.nathanbaker.org/statements/_RuptureStatement.pdf

(I found reviews for his group shows, but found his artist statement more interesting.)

Artist 2: Bradley Peters

What I liked about this guy's work is its decisive moment that is captured. This is from his series of work "Family Plan" and his portrayal of staged yet almost real/surreal is what is striking to my eye. The composition and the questions that it raises in my mind are what attracted me to his work. He is also a recent (2008) graduate of Yale.




Image 1: Unable to find title, date, and medium (2007 or 2008)
Image 2: Unable to find title, date, and medium (2007 or 2008)

Review:
I came across the work Family Plan by Bradley Peters today which immediately stopped me in my tracks. The tensions between spontaneity and theatricality are just one of its obvious strengths but I also really enjoyed reading his rationale behind the project. It is always fascinating to hear how photographers try to pull together their ideas and influences as they strive for a single, clear vision. It is those blind alleys, unforced errors and final steps before a new direction which led to key turning points and revelations about one´s own work that I find so intriguing. So here is Bradley trying to steer a path through different, and often conflicting, interpretations that have arisen around his personal photography:

"In an attempt to make things clearer for myself, I have been trying to figure out why exactly the work feels like it does. But my understanding is slowly evolving and shifting, which is making a clear definition difficult. Sometimes it feels like the fragments of the distorted stories that I grew up listening to my father tell — but then again, it also feels like an investigation into how neurosis translates itself into gesture and body language; how my mother's distress influences the particular manner in which she holds her dinner fork. Sometimes it seems like it's trying to deal with ideas of materiality — what things people love, and how they love them; how they think they need them because of what they represent. Sometimes it feels like it's about the idea of how everything is connected and pulling on everything else, or how destruction is just really transformation — where there is a change in form but not in energy. Sometimes it seems like it's dealing with some kind of pseudo-faith and the false relief that is gained through ritual; the strategies we've established to ease our souls through habitual distraction. And sometimes it's the feeling of pure desperation in trying to communicate something that is outside the senses; a hybrid moment of the indescribable personal, and the accessible everyday — the failures and miracles of human perception.

It is kind of like hearing a strange sound coming from another room that seems both at once recognizable and unfamiliar. It is the compulsion to discover its source. Although this pursuit may seem to be inevitably elusive and fruitless, I am hoping to gain whatever understanding I can through the process."

Bradley Peters was born in Columbus, Nebraska, in 1979. He received a BA from the University of Nebraska—Lincoln in 2004, with degrees in both Psychology and Art. In 2002 and 2003 he was awarded the UNL Creative Activities & Research Experiences Grant. He is also the recipient of the Jean R. Faulkner Memorial Award, the Gold Award from the Midwest Society for Photographic Education, and the Richard Benson Prize. He is a 2008 graduate of the MFA program in Photography at the Yale University School of Art.
POSTED BY TIM CLARK AT 13:59
http://1000wordsphotographymagazine.blogspot.com/2008/10/bradley-peters.html

Artist 3: Katie Kingma

What drew me to her work was the sense of wonder that I get from these images. This idea of questioning all that is presented in the photograph is something that I am really interested in. This sense of mystery and the suspense that is present in her work, challenges the viewer to figure out the meanings that is inherent in all of her photographs. There is a sense of child like wonder that is present as well, and it's relationship to memory that I also try and figure out for myself as well.




Image 1: "Bog: Old Stage Coach Lane", 2007/2008?, C-print. dimensions unknown
Image 2: "Kensington Stables", date ?, C-print. dimensions unknown

review:
Katie Kingma’s photographs create a dialogue between the fears of grown women and the fantasies of young girls. Kingma often pulls references, in her imagery and compositional elements from horror films and fairy tales. The mood of her photographs is strongly dependent upon the interaction of the subject with the environment. The subjects in her photographs, i.e. the girls, are oftentimes dwarfed by the environmental locations they inhabit. The environment acts as a character rather than a place; she wants the subject and the environment to coexist. Kingma uses multiple frames to illustrate her narrative and allude to different events. She challenges the viewer to engage with the image and search for a meaning within the narrative. The strength of her narrative is dependent upon the information that is excluded from the photographic frame as well. Ultimately, Kingma’s goal is to force the viewer to make a conclusion based not only on the elements of the photograph but from their own personal experiences. http://katiekingma.com/

http://www.gallery10g.com/press.php?rec_id=7

Artist 4: LAURA LETINSKY

Now, her work is a bit different to what I've previously showed, but what I was intrigued about in this series of work, was the questioning without people. Where we have to draw our own conclusions to why the food is still left out and eaten. I think that these are nice narrative still lives that one must pick apart to find clues into the photograph.

Image 1: "I did not Remember I had Forgotten #60", 2002. C-print. 29.2 x 37in.
Image 2: Morning and Melancholia #32, 2001. C-print. unknown dimensions




review:
Laura Letinsky
YANCEY RICHARDSON GALLERY 535 West 22nd Street, 3rd
Floor September 15–October 27

R. B. Kitaj once wrote, in a foreword to a book of Lee
Friedlander’s work, “The religion of photography rather insists on
remembrance.” Nowhere does that notion seem more resonant
than in Laura Letinsky’s luxuriously lit still lifes, in which what
asks to be remembered always occurs before our witness. In
this exhibition, titled “To Say It Isn’t So,” Letinsky moves her
elegiac images of abandoned tables after a meal, formally
reminiscent of classic Dutch and Flemish still lifes, out of their
domestic sphere and into the studio. This time, rather than using
religiously fraught objects such as decaying fruit and dead
flowers, Letinsky chooses contemporary detritus (crushed
Styrofoam cups, paper plates, white gift boxes) to populate her
tables, with the aim of shedding the burdens of symbolism.
These white or neutral-toned objects, bathed in natural light,
challenge our sensitivity in perceiving them, not only against
white tables but also against the gallery walls. A monochromatic
decision like this could easily come off as overly self-conscious
or academic, but Letinsky’s averts such a fate with the images’
stark evocations of loss and temporality. Indeed, these painterly,
large-format photographs are saturated with the quietest
nostalgia: Gifts have been opened, cake has been eaten, and the
cast of characters has vanished, leaving behind its debris.
According to the artist, this new series is intended to do away
with both symbolic inferences and narrative; but it is the lost
narrative—implied but, finally, irretrievable—that infuses the
work with a depth and lyricism beyond its formal concerns.
Those familiar with Letinsky’s work will not be disappointed,
though they may balk at seeing a Target bag and a ripped
McDonald’s cup included in her otherwise unassuming
repertoire. Suddenly, brand associations—louder, it would seem,
than any earlier religious ones—threaten to upset the decorum of
Letinsky’s meticulously considered aesthetic, reminding us that
even the richest, most private pleasures often take place at the
periphery of the banal.
—Debora Kuan

http://i1.exhibit-e.com/yanceyrichardson/60ad2841.pdf

Artist 5: Marian Drew

Now, these may be a little bit harder to sell as narrative, but the quality that makes me feel that they are, is the images are so bizzare that one has to try and make sense of it. Her images are haunting and beautiful. Her work puts a dead animal on a place that looks like it is set for eating and allows you to raise questions and your eyebrows at her work. For a still life series, this just seems to fit the mold of narrative tableaux.

Image 1: "Wombat and Watermelon", 2003. 70 x 90 cm, archival pigment on hahnemule cotton paper
Image 2: "Marsupial and Protea", 2003. 70 x 90 cm, archival pigment on hahnemule cotton paper




review:
Melbourne, the large city that doesn't have its own Biennale, lays a lot of store by its biennial Art Fair. It's more than the sum of its parts, which on their own would be a host of discrete galleries from near and far, some great and some mediocre. Instead, the aggregated galleries that make up the Art Fair constitute a veritable festival, a cultural event in its own right, with a character that transcends the individual member-galleries.

A part of this celebratory air is due to the mix of participants, which includes commercial galleries of sundry complexion and some non-profit exhibiting organisations as well. So, attention is sought not simply to show off wares but to promote the visual arts as a living entity, with interlocking commercial and public constituencies.

I was allowed in yesterday while the various galleries were still unpacking, so I could experience the excitement from the inside. You have to imagine the neatly partitioned spaces containing the most vibrant chaos, crowded with bubble-wrap, crates, tools and mobile phones. Some of the galleries are installing site-specific work or creating ephemeral displays, painted directly onto the walls.

Galleries have to make some tricky choices as to what to display in the allocated space. Some opt for a solo exhibition, sometimes dedicating the whole space to only one work. Other galleries show two or three artists, while others again show a large selection of their stable.

Given that there's a fair amount of spatial and visual competition, opting for a solo has unity and simplicity to recommend it. The gallery makes a statement. But the disadvantage is that the buying public doesn't get to see the other artists the gallery represents.

The quest for the major statement is always somewhat stressful at an art fair; and a certain pressure is visited upon the installation at the centre of the Royal Exhibition Building. This year, spectators are greeted by the flank of a large inflatable bunny rabbit (two storeys high) occupying the transept crossing. You have to make a point of going around the building to get an adequate view of this cute Koonsian monstrosity, which also recalls the work of Australian artist Christopher Langton, which was featured in previous years.

The bunny was created by major New Zealand artist Michael Parekowhai and possibly reflects upon the ecological burden that plagues colonial history. But this impudent non-indigenous creature is self-consciously kitsch and also reflects upon the more recent neo-colonial history in which our part of the world is equally plagued by cartoon and marketing stereotypes from the northern hemisphere. Perhaps it is coincidental that the media rascal raises its whi
For overseas and even interstate galleries, the Royal Exhibition Buildings can only be treated in universal terms: a stall is a stall, in Melbourne much the same as in Basel, Chicago or Cologne. But, for local artists and audiences, the imposing Victorian edifice has special connotations upon which some of the installations reflect. The sensitivity to the site is especially expressed in the non-commercial galleries.

The installations in the stalls for Linden Contemporary Arts (Valerie Sparks) and Gertrude Contemporary Art Spaces (Helen Johnson, Michelle Ussher) both explore Victorian architecture in relation to the artificial nature of the garden and the uprooted landscape of pre-colonial times.

Along the lines of paradox and melancholy, the exhibition that Parekowhai's gleeful bunny literally overlooks is the sombre photography of Marian Drew at Dianne Tanzer gallery (see main picture). In these grim photographs, indigenous road kill is presented in a sacramental language of high European art.

These juxtapositions of the grand and the horrid feature throughout the Art Fair but especially, I sense, among Australians who have special reasons to explore some delicate discourses related to the history of displacement in our part of the world. As always, the international work helps you see local production in a context; though the examples from overseas tend to be the more marketable and less deconstructive, and so provide a slightly misleading comparison.

Audiences from other suburbanised countries would understand a work by Kate Just. Giant, three-dimensional block letters spell the word "love". Their surfaces are made from knitted wool. On the front and sides the texture resembles a particularly lush carpet, or perhaps turf, given that a green of such intensity would be unusual in a carpet. The colour is mottled in light and dark zones, spreading across the faces as if they were clusters of grasses enjoying wet patches in the lawn.

On the rear of the giant typeface, however, the vibrancy fades to brown and grey, as if a mould has insidiously taken over the carpet, where the dampness is corrosive and putrid. This other side of the domestic - cynically inscribed onto the word "love" - poetically explores the corrupted ideal of the contemporary family unit, where love is primarily invoked to sell or buy things.

Spores of this subversive feeling can be detected in several works in the Art Fair, such as a painting by Del Kathryn Barton at Karen Woodbury identifying "my inner television". If you have an eye for it, there's plenty of art with a bitter-sweet edge, a wry comment and meaning beyond the decorative.

With an Art Fair, you can't expect a unified sense of a curator's question or research topic, as you get with a Biennale. What you have instead is a marvellous air of diversity and bustling enterprise that lets you wander from space to space to enjoy unexpected encounters.msical face in capricious appeal to the critical non-commercial spaces on the balcony.
-Robert Nelson
http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts-reviews/melbourne-art-fair-06/2006/08/02/1154198180595.html

artist 6: Susana Raab

Off Season is the series that i want to focus on, and even though they have a slightly more documentary style and feel to the images, I feel that they all have a story to tell, some more obvious than others. She captures the real life it seems, little moments that embody a sense of wonderment and quite possibly even nostalgia. They are quiet striking indeed.

Image 1: "Al Capone's Dinner Theatre, Kissimmiee, Florida", 2007?. c-print, 20 x 24
Image 2: "Elvis Fan Club, Kissimmiee, Florida", 2007?. c-print, 20 x 24




review:
Susana Raab is a documentary photographer who began her career as a photojournalist in Washington, DC covering politics. She worked for the New York Times Washington bureau for four years before attending graduate school at Ohio University’s School of Visual Communications. Her two long-term projects: Consumed: Fast Food in the US; and Off-Season: America at Leisure have received recognition from the White House News Photographers’ Association, The Ernst Haas/Golden Light Awards, PhotoLucida’s Critical Mass, American Photography 28, The Santa Fe Center for Photography and Photo District News. Her work is widely exhibited, both nationally and internationally, most recently at the Arts Club of Washington, the Museo de Arte Contemporaneo in Madrid, and the Noorderlicht Photofestival in the Netherlands.

About the Photograph:

No one quite understood what I was trying to do, driving from Athens, Ohio to Orlando, Florida to explore tourist venues that market history, perhaps least of all myself. But this is often part of the process of any journey. At the Medieval Times, I enjoyed a leg of mutton-type repast with the P.R. lady, who waxed poetic about the queries she received from prospective patrons of the dinner theatre, which recreates a medieval battle for damsels’ virtue and knights’ honor. “Once someone called me and wanted to know if we actually killed people, ” she said, non-chalantly, while taking a sip from her stein of ale. As the crowd roared at the theatrics on the floor below, I got up to discover the allure of the battle. I was reminded of a girl I interviewed at a NASCAR event who said,” I love the smoke, the gas, the noise, the danger. Everyone loves it when they crash. Except, of course, when it’s Junior.” More about Off-Season: America at Leisure

The convenience of modern living has allowed us to enjoy unprecedented amounts of leisure time and methods through which to spend that time. Off-Season explores our modern preference for the marketed moment, the pleasure purveyed.

It began with a set of brochures found in the lobby of a Gainesville, Florida motel. “Visit Jerusalem in Orlando!” was the unlikely announcement on the Holyland Experience’s handout. “Step back in time to the dawn of the Middle Ages” offered the Medieval Times Dinner & Tournament. “Be Petty” was the succinct tagline for NASCAR driver Richard Petty’s Driving Experience. The exchange of cash for the opportunity to enjoy free time well spent. That’s how it seemed to me.

I started the project with those venues, and by continuing to photograph festivals, celebrations, and events I seek to unravel one aspect of our modern malaise, one amusement at a time. Despite a surreal start at the Holyland Experience theme park where the passion of Christ is re-enacted daily, save for religious holidays (when for obvious reasons it would be inappropriate), there is much sweetness in America. Throughout Iowa a generosity of spirit and love of family prevails, witnessed by the large extended Iowan families who park their RV’s and camp out at the state fair campgrounds for weeks at a time. In Chittenango, New York, devoted Wizard of Oz fans preserve the spirit of the 1939 movie. A fan club of aging baby boomers in Orlando bonded over Elvis Presley while raising money for needy children.

The images also reflect how these good times have diverted us. In the hustle of our lives, leisure time can be as stressful as work. But it does prevent us reflection, from finding a moment’s contemplation. The bright lights of the fair can be a darker siren’s call. We are lost, wandering through an interminable off-season. The festival is ongoing, but the party is over.
Geoffrey Hiller
http://vervephoto.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/susana-raab/

artist 7: ROCKY SCHENCK

What really got me going about Rocky's work is the sense of mystery. How everything is shrouded in this dark fog and how the figures are pretty much black and anonymous. This is what is intriguing about his work and the locations that he choses for his shoots. Everything seems to work for this images and really gives that narrative quality that I like.

Image 1: "Promenade", 2003. silver gelatin, 16 x 20
Image 2: "Mischief", 2004. silver gelatin, 16 x 20




review:
Poetic Photos: Rocky Schenck’s new photographs at Paul Kopeikin Gallery borrow heavily from Symbolist, Pictorialist and Surrealist forerunners but still muster a life of their own as moody, brooding tone poems. Schenck, who works as a writer and director of music videos in L.A., pays overt homage to Edvard Munch’s charged landscapes in one picture of dark, leafless trees against a foggy gray ground. Another, of trees casting heavy shadows onto the marshy foreground, looks uncannily like an early Edward Steichen.

The deep, dense blacks in these toned silver gelatin prints endow them with a tactile beauty that is consistently seductive, even when the imagery itself is cliched. Schenck’s best efforts invite a narrative–but gently, by giving the suggestion of human presence through cast-off evidence or surrogates.

“London Dress Shop” is striking in this regard, a cousin to Eugene Atget’s haunting Parisian storefront photographs of the 1920s, which were embraced by French Surrealists for their dream-like atmosphere. Schenck’s image shows two headless, armless mannequins, one luminous in a white gown, the other a shadowy specter, seeming to watch the first from afar. The emotional dynamic that emerges in the scene is palpable, though constructed entirely out of absence.

In another of Schenck’s prints, an empty hotel room’s wrinkled bedding and gleaming television evoke a recent presence. In a photograph of empty conference chairs askew around a table, the image’s soft focus and dramatic tones make the scene appear like a stage set, not altogether empty.
Leah Ollman

http://articles.latimes.com/1998/feb/20/entertainment/ca-20965

artist 8: Ken Rosenthal

What attracted me to his work was the darkness and mystery infused with the child like memories that he displays in his work. He depicts images of family, friends, strangers, landscapes, dreamscape, and animals that seem to appear in dreams or in memories. He adds a narrative structure to this unstructured dream-like state and allows the viewer to openly follow in the path of his memories.

Image 1: # ROL-52-9, 2007?. silver gelatin, 16 x 20
Image 2: #DOF-46/46-4, 2007?. silver gelatin, 16 x 20




Artist Statement:


Artist 9: Caitlin Atkinson

What initially drew me to her work was the atmosphere that was presented in her work. The colors also brought me to pick her work as well, with the inviting pallete of nice earthly tones with the added mixture of mystery and wonderment. The social contrustructions of these farbricated images again bring me to her work, with the ever present sense of human nature.

Image 1: "Chapter 11", 2003. 30 x 40. c-print
Image 2: "Chapter 14", 2005. 24 x 30. c-print





Artist Statement:
A few nights ago, I locked myself out of my apartment for the third time this year. While I sat trying to decide what to do, I was overwhelmed with the thought that my life seems composed of one mistake after another; that I am living through a seemingly endless series of disappointments. No matter how hard I try, I can’t seem to get it right.

Whether it is an awkward public interaction, unreal crisis, or moment of social disconnection, ordinary life is full of abrupt occurrences that create discomfort and isolation. It is often shocking and painful to discover how unsympathetic and harsh the world can be when we fail. The consequences of our transgressions, however small, leave us feeling inept and alone.

The photographs I create are all constructed scenes inspired by my own encounters with this fear and failure. My interest is focused on these breakdowns of everyday life and the subsequent relationship with defeat. The sad humor and vulnerability in the situations I stage allow viewers to identify with the character I portray. In exposing my own shame and seclusion, I am giving name to the anxiety that plagues us all. The images then serve not simply as an illumination of the feeling of embarrassment, but as representations of undisguised human nature.

http://www.caitlinatkinson.net/artist.html

Artist 10: Gregory Crewdson

This really seems to be obvious why I chose him, his work is quiet possibly the most cinematic work I have ever seen. His lighting and subtle details that are implemented into this work add this eerie sense of mystery and suspense that i wih to add into my work. But seriously, his lighting techniques are just awesome. It's probably because he uses lighting company to help with his work. If only I were so lucky and well paid...

Image 1: "Untitled (Clover Street from Beneath the Roses)", 64 1/4 X 94 1/4 inches, 2003, digital c-print
Image 2: "Untitled (Maple Street from Beneath the Roses)", 64 1/4 X 94 1/4 inches, 2003, digital c-print




review:

'Beneath the Roses'
Luhring Augustine
531 West 24th Street, Chelsea
Through June 18

The shabby, blue-tinted small-town America in Gregory Crewdson's big dour photographs evokes the movie ''A Wonderful Life'' without Clarence, the intervening angel. Jimmy Stewart's character has succeeded in killing himself, and the world is a desolate, unjust place, where everyone hits rock bottom by one route or another.

All Crewdson characters are shown in a state of shock and crisis, the point just beyond the point of no return. A small, bent man in a trench coat stands on a rain-soaked street in the middle of the night, staring at a closed liquor store as if it were a mirage. An older woman sits in a clean nightgown on the edge of her bed, having recently, it seems, dragged an uprooted rose bush through her house and wrangled it onto the pillows.

Mr. Crewdson's images compress the melodrama of an entire movie, or soap-opera season, into a single, elaborately constructed scene. They represent art imitating popular art, which means that they have the clarity, for us, that a stained glass window would have had in the Middle Ages.

But Pre-Raphaelite paintings may be a better analogy. These photographs have become ornate, hollow, implicitly academic exercises, so freighted with telltale omens and contrivances and so monotonously joyless that they start to seem light, almost comic.

Some details suggest horror movie kitsch, like the filthy pink telephone in a hotel room where an older woman stands naked in the bathroom. The blood dripping down her thigh pushes the narrative toward overload: is she sick or not as menopausal as she thought? Has she checked into a room where something horrible has happened and might happen again or was the maid in a rush? With so much going on, the sets themselves become the main events, and the characters often assume a proplike woodenness. The woman who stares fixedly at a roast beef so rare it may have driven her husband from the dinner table might almost be a store mannequin.

Mr. Crewdson's outdoor images are less overwrought and more mysterious. The play of natural and artificial light (learned from the images of O. Winston Link) gives him more to work with, and the open space helps. But even here the same catatonic, blasted blankness afflicts the people, and the limited emotional range precludes genuine depth.

Mr. Crewdson needs to discover some new feelings or reinvent his medium, because theatrical craft has overtaken his art. This has come at the expense of the imaginative uses of color, scale or space -- in short, form -- that both balanced and heightened the creepiness of his early set-up photographs. It makes sense that he has said that his next project will be a film. It may be time to tackle the challenge of duration with characters who can move, speak and stand up to their surroundings. Either that, or Mr. Crewdson might consider dismissing his superbly skilled crew and taking up street photography. The REAL real world has it merits. ROBERTA SMITH

http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E0D71738F930A35755C0A9639C8B63


WORKS CITED:

Atkinson, Caitlin. Artist Statement. 11 Nov. 2008. http://www.caitlinatkinson.net/artist.html

Baker, Nathan. Artist Statement. 11 Nov. 2008. http://www.nathanbaker.org/statements/_RuptureStatement.pdf

Gallery 10G. Sitting Pretty. 11 Nov. 2008. http://www.gallery10g.com/press.php?rec_id=7

Hiller, Geoffrey. Verve Photo. A New Breed of Documentary Photographers. http://vervephoto.wordpress.com/2008/05/16/susana-raab/

Kuan, Debora. 11 Nov. 2008. http://i1.exhibit-e.com/yanceyrichardson/60ad2841.pdf

"narrative." Dictionary.com Unabridged (v 1.1). Random House, Inc. 11 Nov. 2008. .

Nelson, Robert. The Age. Melbourne Art Fair 06'. 11 Nov. 2008. http://www.theage.com.au/news/arts-reviews/melbourne-art-fair-06/2006/08/02/1154198180595.html

Ollman, Leah. Los Angeles Time. Art Review. 11 Nov. 2008. http://articles.latimes.com/1998/feb/20/entertainment/ca-20965

Smith, Roberta. New York Times. Art in Review; Gregory Crewdson. 11 Nov. 2008. http://query.nytimes.com/gst/fullpage.html?res=9C04E0D71738F930A35755C0A9639C8B63

TIM CLARK. 1000 Words Photography. Contemporary Photography Magazine Online. 11 Nov. 2008. http://1000wordsphotographymagazine.blogspot.com/2008/10/bradley-peters.html

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