Beguiling photographs at Randall Scott; neon sculpture, paintings at Heurich; Kurdish themes at Foundry
For his first group exhibition at his temporary space, Randall Scott selected painters, mostly from New York and Los Angeles; his second is of photographers, and includes several from Europe. Neither lineup was chosen to highlight a particular theme, but some emerged nonetheless. Among the nine artists in “Untitled No. 2,” three address female identity and self-image.
Julia Fullerton-Batten depicts young women in several series, all of them a little ominous. For “Teenage Stories,” she photographed girls at European theme parks that feature model buildings. The results make her characters look normal in everything but scale, and prominent in a way that most adolescents struggle to avoid. The German-born British photographer’s “In Between” images depict dancers in mid-fall, with various props and safety devices digitally removed to make her subjects appear more at risk than they really were. Eeriest of all are the “School Play” photos, in which girls in matching blond wigs pose in such places as a library and a locker room. The faces are different, but the identity is communal — except for one woman in “Changing Room,” who abashedly stands out because blood is running down her leg.
Jen Davis photographs plus-size women, also young and blond, in wistful scenes of attempted glamour or erotic longing. To add to the sense of alienation, the New York photographer sometimes poses her models with women who are conventionally alluring, such as a bikini-clad beach lounger in “Pressure Point” or a woman applying lipstick in “Primping.” Chris Anthony’s digitally compiled portraits are less psychological; the women the L.A. artist places in vast expanses are more visual motifs than characters. Still, there’s an implicit critique of classical art’s use of the female form in the white-on-white “Rebellion,” in which a woman in a voluminous dress imitates a sculpture, complete with plaster on her face.
There is one transvestite, but no women, in Marco Delogu’s“Cardinals and Criminals,” which puts clerics in the lineup with thugs. The Roman artist’s black-and-white Polaroids are stark and shadowy, but there’s a friskiness to the way he correlates the faces, all very serious about their respective callings. If John Waters doesn’t already collect Delogu’s work, he’ll probably start soon.
Christopher Griffith and Jenny Okun take very different approaches to landscape. The former’s black-and-white images of an industrial site and car-dealer pennants are so high-contrast that they suggest engravings. The latter’s collages of architectural details, composed in the camera but sometimes digitally enhanced, yield compositions that suggest such pattern-oriented miniaturists as Paul Klee, especially in more flat-seeming works such as “Olymbos Chapel, Karpathos, Greece.”
All but one of these artists shoot on film, although they may use digital technology to refine and print their work. The exception is Valentina De’ Mathà, who doesn’t shoot at all. The Italo-Swiss artist hangs sheets of emulsified photo paper, streaked in chemical shades of gold, tan and gray. Her sculpture (which happens to be called “Untitled no. 2”) revels in form and shadow, but also laments what will be lost when all photography is digital: the lucky mistakes that yield beautiful metallic hues.