Works brushed by mood, melancholy
Claire van Ryzin
brushed by mood, melancholy
its practice of matching artists, D. Berman Gallery pairs the
color photographs of Laura Pickett Calfee with the paintings of Anna
the past few years, Calfee has trained her lens on empty rooms in
ordinary houses in small Texas towns. The homes are currently occupied
and generally kept in a family for generations. Calfee then interviews
the families before photographing their homes and leaves the rooms
untouched and empty of people.
approach is the opposite of voyeurism. And at a time when fine art
photography is replete with peek-a-boo scenes (or even images of staged
events meant to simulate reality), that's a nice touch of decency.
Even though Calfee does no rearranging of furniture and objects, the
composition of her shots is remarkably formal. Ditto with her good
use of available light sources to create a sense of mood.
that mood registers as little more than nostalgia. Calfee gets close
to wriggling out from underneath wistfulness with a few images such
as "Comfort," in which a rumpled bed and a parted curtain
suggest a fleeting presence. It carries an edge, and one wishes for
more of it.
oil paintings depict the detritus of abandoned factories, discarded
machines, mothballed battleships and scrap yards. Audette's is an
essentially heroic style, idealized even, much like the social realist
art of the 1930s. At the same time, her compositions verge on abstraction,
their swaths of dark hues and moody shadows emerging as pure forms,
not clear images.
like Calfee's work, Audette captures plenty of melancholy, beauty
and mood. That's not a bad thing in and of itself. But if there were
a little more heft to Audette's paintings, maybe there'd be a some
Held Audette and Laura Pickett Calfee" continues through Nov.
11 at D. Berman Gallery, 1701 Guadalupe St. Call 477-8877 or go to