Feb 21, 2010

Amy Stein & Brian Ulrich at Caption Gallery, and 'Wendy and Lucy' Film

I finally had the opportunity to see 'Instruments of Empire' at Caption Gallery in DUMBO, Brooklyn, featuring the work of Amy Stein and Brian Ulrich. First, as one who has curated, I have to commend the extremely catchy name of the show. It just sounds impressive. Secondly, I was fortunate to catch Amy giving an artist talk with Lyle Rexer in conjunction with the screening of the indy film Wendy and Lucy.

© Brian Ulrich

©Amy Stein

First, the photographs: in light of the current economic situation, Stein and Ulrich's photos---of stranded motorists along the highway and abandoned and shut down big-box stores, respectively---were very timely, and printed at a modest scale.

At Amy's talk, she described the increase in break-downs she has witnessed during this recession, the desperate nature of many people along the highways.

Secondly, the film in conjunction with Stein's photographs.

The film was extremely intimate, closed in, nearly claustrophobic in its portrayal of the main character, Wendy, played by Michelle Williams. In contrast, Stein's photographs are quick glimpses of people in incredibly vulnerable states. In the film, we become completely immersed in Wendy's highly concentrated, stressful existence, mostly as a result of her car breaking down. In the photographs, the viewer is not given any clues beyond the visual as to the circumstances surrounding the pictorial protagonist. For me, the contrast worked, and I recommend both the exhibit and the movie.

No comments: