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Art Mon Jan 18 2010

Laura Letinsky at Monique Meloche

TD&TW 19.gif

Letinsky's "Untitled #19" courtesy of Monique Meloche Gallery

Before Laura Letinsky's opening last Saturday, I hadn't been in Monique Meloche's new location on the west side of nightlife mecca, Wicker Park. I assumed it would be a giant space that showcased her stamp on the art scene, especially when I looked in from the outside and saw the 10 by 25 foot, psychedelic mural by Assume Vivid Astro Focus in the window that certainly didn't suggest modesty. However, I was baffled when I realized Letinsky's show was comprised of only five photos. Five! I am so impressed by Meloche's confidence and ability to surprise.

Letinsky is a still life photographer. But these photos are not Cezanne's apples and pears. They are delicately morbid, always suggesting something slightly depraved has taken place just before the photo was taken. The pictures involve objects like fruit, eggs, oysters, birds, and unidentifiable furry creatures, all gutted or skinned. However, Letinsky's meticulous placement of these objects indicates care on the artist's part and ere on the side of quixotic rather than gore.

This show is titled The Dog and the Wolf which partly refers to the French phrase L'heure entre chien et loup--the time when both dog and wolf are seen when dusk becomes night. Unlike Letinsky's last photos, set in daylight, these have a beautifully melancholic atmosphere when set at dusk. Almost always, there lies a wrinkled white tablecloth beneath the objects, adding texture and shadow. Dead flowers and wine stains add a nostalgic and romantic approach to these photos as well. Letinsky also has an unsettling talent for skewing perspective, shoving the table to the very foreground and leaving an uncomfortably large, grey background or giving the tables an apocryphal lack of depth.

Exhibiting only five photos invited in depth analysis of the photographs that perhaps a larger show would not have afforded. Letinksy's work is both inviting and confrontational and simply put, really really good. The show closes on March 13, 2010.

 
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A/C is the arts and culture section of Gapers Block, covering the many forms of expression on display in Chicago. More...
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