Consistent improvements in technology and technique have not overwritten a desire for wayward juxtapositions in photography. Like the Spice Gallery is proud to present, You Make Me Warm: A Photography Exhibition. This show explores the fluctuation of atmosphere in inanimate subjects. Looking beyond the observation of immediate reality, the participants unhinge boundaries between concept and document. Each of the artists in the show approaches their work with a mythical intimacy, utilizing high-contrast color and ambiguous surroundings to tap into the ethereal. They summon early 20th century Czech photography or the photograms of Man Ray combined with the muted palate of 1970's color photographers like John Pfahl and Joel Sternfield. Each artist provides a character study of the unknowable, entangling landscape in the transparency of portraiture.
Sarah Palmer eludes memory by placing objects upon void landscapes that question her scene's authenticity. Her images reveal an inverted universe free from assumptions of power, gravity, and intelligence. Outside of logic or memory, the images are snapshots of absentee identities. In their impermanence her images hold our breath: eggs are invincible, planes soar to the zenith of 'The Truman Show' bubble, and clams can talk. Her images are just shy of knowable, a mental collage on the surface of reality.
Anthony Michael Rom composes completely fabricated scenes for the viewer to dissect. Utilizing bubbly, adolescent paper dolls, Rom submits their faultless smiles to wretchedly morose scenes. These impersonators contribute minimal clues to the actuality of the scene. Rom mocks the reality of the moment and reminds the viewer that a moment's timeline isn't necessarily linear or palpable. Sugarplum cheeks and pleated dresses are at odds with the extremity of human action, from abduction to arson, approached with an alien neutrality.
Controversy simmers beneath a handful of legendary images, reprimanded for their dishonesty to photography's seizure of life's coincidental beauty. Photography from the Great Depression Era in the United States, for example, parlays a latent emptiness despite pristine snapshot of monumental instances. The photographers in this exhibition embrace the void and seduce the viewer to accept the ostensibly completed puzzle. Despite appearing fortuitous, each image escapes from the truth of the moment through its resemblance to it. Intentional staging counteracts the immediate correlation to life, allowing for a moment of silence in wake of the sense's absence.