Review: Grandfather-granddaughter photo show offers strong visual impact

JOHN BRANDENBURG
For The Oklahoman
Modified: February 4, 2013 at 3:24 pm •  Published: February 4, 2013
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photo - Self-Portrait at a Flea Market, Paris, France, 1966, by Stanley Marcus, Digtal pigment print
Self-Portrait at a Flea Market, Paris, France, 1966, by Stanley Marcus, Digtal pigment print

The downward angle of a striking 1958 photo by Marcus makes a Paris model wearing a red and black floral pattern dress seem to be in danger of tumbling into the tumble-block pattern to 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 by Smith 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 at the gallery.

Hours are from 10 a.m. to 5 p.m. Tuesdays through Fridays; and from 10 a.m. to 4 p.m. Saturdays. Call 815-9995 or visit the website at www.artspaceatuntitled.org for information.