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Art exhibit features works by Stanley Marcus and his granddaughter.

Photographs taken by Neiman Marcus executive Stanley Marcus, are paired with images taken by his granddaughter Allison V. Smith in an exhibit on view at Artspace at Untitled.
BY JOHN BRANDENBURG Published: February 10, 2013

The downward angle of a striking 1958 photo makes a Paris model wearing a red and black floral pattern dress seem to be in danger of tumbling into the tumble-block pattern on the floor tile beneath her feet.

Very different are the large, square-format photographs of Smith, who typically uses a Hasselblad camera, some of which communicate the silent visual poetry of empty, perhaps abandoned spaces.

Cases in point are provided by her 2005 photo of one side of an old, weathered “Drive In” movie sign, covered with wood or cardboard, and her 2006 picture of a “Grocery” in Marfa, Texas. Red suffuses her nocturnal 2005 picture of a neon “Hotel” sign, and a flat black background makes a brightly lit Marfa “Locker Plant” seem even more dramatic in a 2004 photo.

High heels make “Red Shoes on Red Square” (in Moscow) stand out vividly, as does the red color of a buoy containing “The Bell” in two more works which have a strong visual impact.

Interior still life subjects are handled equally well by Smith in her 2010 and 2011 pictures of blue “China” plates on white shelves in Maine, and of “Carrots and Deviled Eggs,” seen from above, as if floating in space.

Inanimate, yet almost animated, are the carved wooden birds on stick legs, surrounded by white surfaces, in a 2010 photo, while artist Robert Indiana looks a little lost, in her 2011 photo of him, taken in Vinalhaven, Maine.

One of Smith's most subtle and evocative images in the current show is a 2009 picture of a stand of birch or aspen trees on a small island, reached by a wooden bridge, in Rockport, Maine.

Containing 64 prints, the “Reflections: The Photographs of Allison V. Smith and Stanley Marcus” show is highly recommended during its run through March 30.

— John Brandenburg