Illuminating ArtificeIlluminating Artifice Illuminating Artifice

Illuminating ArtificeIlluminating Artifice

Volume 5, Number 23 | June 8 – 14, 2006



Schroeder Romero

637 West 27th St.

Tue.-Sat. 11 a.m.-6 p.m.

Through Jun. 24


Illuminating Artifice

Reality with a twist in “Doubletake”

Objects of fiction and fantasy abound in “Doubletake,” a group photography exhibition of 10 emerging artists, connected by the creative strategies that bend or augment reality. Candid shots of the rich and powerful in compromising positions are always a crowd-pleaser and Alison Jackson’s photographs tap into the inner voyeur. In “Elton Has A Colonic” an Elton John look-a-like, naked except for his sunglasses, straddles a hospital bed while a masked nurse inserts a long hose up his ass. In another fuzzy image, George W. Bush wears a shit-eating grin as he cops a feel from the secretary of state.

Nick Wallington’s “Carbon Monoxide Poisoning” presents a dark, almost comic scene of a compact car parked on a derelict urban street. A hose is taped at one end to the tail pipe and the other inserted into the car window—fogged by the exhaust buildup, obscuring the occupant and motive within.

Simen Johan’s wicked little narrative snapshots of kids offer a perverted picture of childhood. In one photo, “untitled #78,” a small boy wearing shorts appears to do a little jig before another child who is severely cropped out of the picture. The image at first appears so innocent, something from a family album; but upon closer inspection other interpretations open up. The young boy’s crotch has an apparent bulge and his pose suggests a cocky, tough-boy manner. What appear to be clouds in the background are actually jet streams from an air show. The photograph has layers of power and foreboding, and even if the image is meaningless the picture is memorable.

Brothers Carlos and Jason Sanchez create elaborate and improbable psychological settings. They condense their images to the most important moment and utilize manufactured spaces to capture impossible angles within their bold color photos. In “Pink Bathroom,” the perspective is intentionally exaggerated and although its affect is subtle, the result is somewhat unnerving as much of the attention is placed upon a soaked androgynous figure peering out from behind a pink tiled wall. The pristine setting is jarred by heaps of dirt or scat on the floor. This unhinged narrative allows many translations—with something unseemly simmering in the psychological background.

Many of the artists in this exhibition play on the edge of a psychological sweetness. Artists such as Susan Graham, Walter Martin, and Paloma Munoz tap into a perverse way of seeing, which on the surface uses aesthetics and old fashion narrative to play with humorous and palatable emotions; but as the gaze lingers the narratives within the pictures begin to unravel. There is a rejection of a notion of pure innocence in these collective tales, reminiscent of the way William Golding introduced his optimistic cast of characters in “Lord of the Flies.”