"Funny, you don't look it..."
May 31 - July 13, 2002
Opening Reception: Friday, May 31 6 -9 pm
Artists' Talk: Saturday, June 1 @ Noon
Steve Aishman, Juan-Carlos Castro, Dana Hanmer, Travis Hanmer, Carl Sesto, Benjamin Sloat, Meredith Talusan curated by Roland Smart
Review on Retro-Rocket.com by Paul Parcellin:
Boston Globe review
Guest curated by Roland Smart, this exhibit
features new work created by seven artists specifically for this
space. "The artists blur the boundaries between identities,
overlap them, fracture them, and deconstruct them. They demonstrate
how a 'look' can support a variety of strategies to empower oneself.
They remind us that as we 'look,' we often overlook the fact that
we are surrounded by others doing likewise."
Smart describes "Funny, you don't look it..." as "an exhibition of photographic portraits and self-portraits that frames how we 'look.' It refers to the way we represent ourselves to others, how we look at others and, ultimately, how we look at ourselves.
Steve Aishman and Benjamin Sloat will set up a "1/2 Asian Portrait Studio" on scheduled days at the gallery and take photographs of visitors which are then added to the exhibit. The visitors are encouraged to use props and expressions to look more 'Asian' and then more 'Western'.
Juan-Carlos Castro uses overhead shots of himself to eliminate the individual landmarks such as eye color or profile which are often the basis of stereotypes. Hundreds of these small, foreshortened figures sprout shoulders, arms and legs from a round, clean shaven head to resemble flowers on wall paper - and cover the entire wall.
Carl Sesto uses a manipulated photograph instead of props to change his own racial appearance from a lighter or 'European' skin color to a darker, 'African' or perhaps 'Indian' skin color. The lenticular photograph that Sesto creates weaves two separate images into an image which changes as a viewer moves past it. Since the only change is a very convincing color change, Sesto forces us to look at racism and its inherent superficiality.
Carl Sesto - video of lenticular photograph changing
Meredith Talusan photographs herself during the course of several recent dates with men. The images are posed and feel closer to vacation shots than documentary photography. The happy couples are in typical bar, restaurant and more intimate date environments which are subtlety subverted by our assumptions of 'normal' gender roles and identities.
Dana Hanmer and Travis Hanmer provide a healthy dose of fame and fortune by inserting themselves into enlarged versions of a Cindy Sherman's "Untitled Film Still" and a cover of Art News so convincingly as to defy detection. The attendant evidence of the authenticity of the images is provided in vitrenes complete with museum labels beside the large altered photos. The myths created illuminate the artworld's cult of celebrity which oddly seems to be the great racial and gender equalizer.