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Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Michael Garlington Transcends Gimmickry in Creating a Powerful "Photohouse"

Posted By on Tue, Jun 21, 2011 at 1:30 PM

click to enlarge MICHAEL GARLINGTON
  • Michael Garlington
It's easy to dismiss this exhibit as one big gimmick. A house made of photos and their frames, in the middle of a gallery, covered on the outside with dark eyes and darkish images of beautiful naked women? But walk inside this so-called "Photohouse" and you realize that appearances are deceiving.

Here is the antithesis of that apparent gimmick: row upon row of faces and hands in jars that emphasize the interior's white background. Theatrical nakedness gives way to intense close-ups of strangers old or odd. Darkness recedes into bright light. It's stirring enough to inspire this critic to address the artist directly: Thank you, Michael Garlington.

click to enlarge MICHAEL GARLINGTON
  • Michael Garlington
You've given us a chance to see images of your photographic sojourns across the United States and Europe, images distinguished by your playfulness and intensity. Your photos have a magic to them.

Some of the people you shoot are menacing. Some are on the edge of death. But many are gazing at the camera -- at us, visitors to your "Photohouse" -- with a sense of purpose that is transfixing. Jonathan Curiel

"Photohouse" continues through Aug. 20 at SF Camerawork, 657 Mission (at Third St.), S.F. Admission is $2-$5.

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Jonathan Curiel


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