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Karen Marzlof
"Interior/Exterior-Five Perspectives on Landscape Photography"
The Portsmouth New Hampshire Wire
November 26, 2003

The Lamont Gallery at Phillips Exeter Academy is a deep gallery-room follows room so that as you walk through the exhibit spaces, you move into the heart of the building, further enmeshed in the exhibit at hand. The current show, "Interior/Exterior: Five Perspectives on Landscape Photography" unfolds likewise.

The works are the products of five fertile imaginations, women who have spent the better part of their lives as photographers, making image after image, day after day, year after year. There's more than a gifted hand at work here; there's an authority that's earned only by experience.

Claire Seidl's images are blurry and mysterious, and unexpectedly large for such intimate studies, whose topic is the ephemeral nature of things in transition. Motifs of nature, young girls right before they become teenagers, living rooms, rain and sun repeat through the images taken at Seidl's home in Rangeley, Maine, but each evokes a specific spirit. A good example in East Window/Scooter (2001), in which a scooter on a porch floor recedes into ferns that blend into a rocking chair and then an interior wall, with a window looking out that, with its white light, directs the eye back into the tangle of images. The meaning seems to be in the relationship; the image feels like a flash of memory, a moment held more internally than can be described to other...

Most of the work at the exhibit was made within the last three years, but collectively, the artists' work is held in museums across the country and featured in The New Yorker, The New York Times, The Village Voice, Modern Photography and Fotophile.The exhibit was organized by Steve Lewis (acting gallery director 2002-2003) and curated by Karen Burgess Smith, director of the Lamont Gallery, and they've done justice to some remarkable contemporary photographs. Leaving the gallery room feels like exiting a landscape, returning on the trail you followed in, ready to continue on your journey after a marvelous detour.

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