On one of the few Palmer Avenue blocks that hasn’t been hit by vacancies, Kenise Barnes Fine Art pulled in a packed house on Saturday, February 27 for the opening of “Other People’s Fiction” – a show featuring disparate work of four contemporary artists.
In sync with current economic and global warming trends, it seems appropriate that two of the artists take an apocalyptic view: Lori Nix, explores a magnificent post-human world, while Patrick Jacobs manufactures a hyper-surreal suburban slice of ersatz nature.
“Other People’s Fiction”
Through April 8
Kenise Barnes Fine Art
One theme throughout is photography that pairs eerie and magical.
Gallery owner Kenise Barnes explained how the show explores artificial reality. “We think of photography as documenting reality, but in these instances it’s doing the opposite,” she said. “It’s used to create ‘set up’ photography so the artists can create imaginary worlds. It’s up to us to decide what’s real or fiction, by bringing our own story to the art.”
One reality is that all four artists create narrative scenes and prognostications about mankind and nature.
Ms. Nix, originally from Kansas, builds and photographs detail-dense dioramas in her Brooklyn apartment. She is showing three pieces from her “The City” series. “The Botanical Garden” she explained, “alludes to urban decay. It’s what I imagine would happen if the structure were abandoned and nature takes over.”
Mr. Jacobs, another Brooklyn artist, has tiny dioramas of garden tableaux that can be seen by peering through a lens fixed into a gallery wall.
“He was inspired by reading an Ortho weed-killing catalog where the idea was that only by using herbicides you could have the perfect garden.” explained Ms. Barnes. “That kind of perfection does not exist, he’s saying, unless under glass, not in the real world.”
Corina Gamma’s rollercoaster photos play up the manmade environments of amusement parks and the newness of metroplexes, such as Los Angeles, seen through the eyes of this Swiss photographer.
Laura Letinksy, a Canadian now in Chicago, is showing photographs that are mostly washed-out white spaces with spare detritus, such as nibbled cherries, grape stems or the last sips of orange juice that appear to be from an event that’s just transpired.
Observed Ms. Barnes, “Whether you’re viewing and experiencing utopia or dystopia, it’s up to you.”
Katherine Ann Samon is business editor at the Larchmont Gazette. More about her at www.katherineannsamon.com