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It is undeniably thrilling to discover something that I never expected to find in a photograph. Whether visually or symbolically hidden in plain sight, I delight in that “aha” moment of realization. Such treats abound in exhibits featuring Greg Heins, Bruce Cratsley, Jason DeMarte and the duo known as “pwmd”, now at Gallery Kayafas in Boston’s SoWa arts district through December 9th, 2017. There will be an Artists’ Reception on First Friday, December 1st, 2017 from 5:30 – 8:00pm. Indulge yourself!
In his series Fragments/Tokyo, Greg Heins celebrates the unexpected treasures lying in wait for the right set of eyes. His contemplative style bears fruit for those who gaze long enough to appreciate Heins’ sophisticated compositions and wry humor. Especially drawn to surprising juxtapositions, Heins elevates the mundane into playful, transparent geometries in a city street scene (“Green Column”), subtle patterns and textures found along the banks of a moat (“Wall and Moat”) or a lush Italianate garden amidst the dense Japanese capital (Feature Image). He further engages us with his poised apposition of colors, deft exploitation of reflections and a great eye for glow. For example, in “Window and Grate”, the balance of stark composition and elegant line, along with a subtle, lustrous palette and the implied reflection between the two rectangles, expresses Hein’s superb style and wit, restoring faith that the ordinary can be extraordinary.
Bruce Cratsley (1944-1998) was known for his mastery of light and shadow. His square-format B&W images reveal poetic fragments of his daily life and acclaim the ethereal in the everyday. Deep shadows, ghostly reflections, blurred motion and sometimes even smoke or mirrors imbue his photographs with mystery. Intimate Light includes fifteen vintage, small-scale prints, some on view for the first time, in an expertly curated installation by gallery assistant Lee Wormald. The images convey both transience and awe, whether in Cratsley’s elusive reflection in a shop window or the buoyant luminosity of a New Year’s balloon. Cratsley’s intimate and sensuous photographs are radiant allusions to our impermanence.
Jason DeMarte’s natural landscapes in the series Confected are all sweetness and light. Or are they? His hyper-realistic, halcyon scenes can lull you into thinking they are authentic, but closer inspection reveals they are constructed entirely from unnatural elements, using candy for extra emphasis, like the juicy pink gummy worms clinging to the branches in “Pokeberry Persuasion” or the mints in “Morning Mint Dew” and “Queen Anne’s Candy”. DeMarte’s oversized, luscious landscapes cast a utopian vision against our rampant consumerism, resulting in absurd composites that question our perception of truth and illusion. In his delightful deceptions, DeMarte serves up fantasies with a tart aftertaste.
In the Project Gallery, A flat world of paper is a fanciful installation that reshapes our experience of perspective, dimensionality and scale. The brainchild of the artist team known as PWMD, recent Lesley University College of Art and Design graduates Paal Williams and Marissa Dembkoski have used grayscale 3-D prints and B&W photography to shape-shift our perceptions. Their inventive, playful and visually appealing photographs cling to the ceiling and slide down the walls, delightfully perplexing our expectations and inspiring us to view things differently.
For hours, directions and more information about these exhibits, go to: http://www.gallerykayafas.com/
Feature Image: ”Italian Garden (63), 2017” (Detail) from the series Fragments/Tokyo by Greg Heins (courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafas, Boston).