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Wall Street Journal Review: WET at Laurence Miller Gallery

Posted By Administration, Wednesday, August 21, 2013
Updated: Monday, October 14, 2013

Through August 23, 2013


Laurence Miller Gallery's summer group show, WET is a fun and playful mix of over 40 works by more than 25 artists/photographers. The theme addresses our relationship to water and traces through a range of holdings and reaches through the decades. An 1887 image by Eadweard Muybridge "Woman pouring a bucket of water over another woman," is the oldest work in the show; it is curious and raises many questions, but provides very few answers. Alfred Stieglitz's classic "Steerage" from 1907 reveals the drama and hardships facing immigrants from Europe who crossed the Atlantic to find a better life in the US. However, they are not arriving at Ellis Island but in fact are on their way back, having been denied entry for medical and other reasons. Helen Levitt is represented by four works, including her classic shot of a woman carrying milk bottles, as well as a Jewish dairy sign depicting a woman milking a cow, and a child's drawing of an imagined 5 cent soda. Mid-century work by Fan Ho, "Hong Kong" from 1960 is a memorable and dynamic street scene of umbrellas and pedestrians. Later works like Fred Herzog's 1958 "My Room, Hardwood Street," and Joe Maloney's 1979 "Route 17 Maywood, NJ" use color to sent the tone of their work, and contemporary works too are well represented Julie Mack's "Hotel Lobby France" from 2005 and Burk Uzzle's "White Water Nash" from 2009 speak somewhat to cultural condition. In all this was an interesting and provocative mix of imagery with each work addressing its own relationship to the theme- WET.

Wall Street Journal Review:

by William Meyers

In the summer, galleries present group shows of work culled from their inventories. Because the shows are usually organized around a theme, disparate photographers are hung side by side in unexpected combinations. Miller's theme this summer is "Wet," images somehow related to liquid, so Harold Edgerton's "Milk Drop Sequence" (1938), nine small prints by the MIT electrical engineer who made the stroboscope an instrument for artistic creation, is located not too far from Helen Levitt's "NYC" (c. 1940), a picture of a little girl running from the shower of an open fire hydrant toward the outstretched arm of her mother—two wonderful works made from very different impulses.

The delicacy of "Water Droplets on Flower" (1986-87) by Yasuhiro Ishimoto is countered by the violent surging waves of Dodo Jin Ming's "Free Element V" (2002). There is a sign advertising "5' x 12' Insty Wading Pool $9.88" in Dave Freund's "Gas Station 'Pool'" (late 1970s), but no actual water, unless you count the bucket and squeegee for washing windows on the pole between the pumps. Ray K. Metzker's "Sojourn, France" (1989) features elegant French trees tastefully reflected in an idyllic French stream, and Garry Winogrand's voyeuristic "Hippy Hollow, Lake Travis, Austin, Texas" (1973) is a shot between two trees of a shapely, naked blonde edging into the water. A crumpled mobile home rests upside-down beside a rain-slicked highway in "Crash" (early 1970s) by Michael Becotte, an image that is nothing like Paul Caponigro's meditative aqua-scape "Moonlight/Reflection" (undated).

Wall Street Journal Review

View the exhibition online at Laurence Miller Gallery

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