Author: Annie Buckley
The birth of photography was marked by a necessarily symbiotic relationship between art and science, one that has reemerged in recent decades. This exhibition of new works by Michael Rashkow quietly points to the resurgence. In comparison with the supersize, brightly colored, or otherwise dazzling photographs in many galleries, this work is relatively subdued. Yet the power of the exhibition, which includes eight photographic portraits alongside small sculptural objects, lies in its sense of mystery and an infectious curiosity about big issues—life, death, time, experience. It offers more questions than answers. Using a camera equipped with a device that rotates it 360 degrees during lengthy exposures, Rashkow tweaks the conventional photographic portrait by transforming subjects into spherical forms ranging in color from a soft off-white that blends into the surface of the paper, to a deep brown (in an image visually similar to the avocado pit suspended by toothpicks in a vase of water on the floor nearby). Erasing all recognition of the human face, the forms are as primitive as they are new. Scattered beneath the framed prints, like the deliberate disarray of an abandoned science experiment, are numerous wooden and glass objects, drawing—but not forcing—relationships between recorded image and solid form.