In the Galleries - Leslie Hewitt: Sudden Glare of the Sun CLOSES December 30 at CAM

In the Galleries - Leslie Hewitt: Sudden Glare of the Sun CLOSES December 30 at CAM
Jason Mandella / D'Amelio Terras, New York
Leslie Hewitt, Blue Skies, Warm Sunlight (installation view), 2011. Courtesy the artist and Sikkema Jenkins & Co.

Two multipart works comprise this elegant, nuanced exhibit by New York-based artist Leslie Hewitt. Blue Skies, Warm Sunlight (2011) is a series of photographic still lifes that depict objects arranged on a hardwood floor, leaning against a white wall. A worn paperback copy of a 1969 book called The Politics of Protest stands upright against the flipped spine of another book, the two serving as a slim pedestal for a square hunk of birch. On the floor next to this composition: a snapshot of cloud-flecked blue sky. The same elements reappear throughout the series in various forms and configurations — a snapshot of a faded family photo; both book spines turned away from the viewer. An odd synthesis begins to transpire through these subtle, repetitive images: of casual photos and books as a means of signifying memory; of books and snapshots signifying shared history and social action; of wood floors and piled personal items signifying intimacy and anonymity. Each gesture has an echo: What the photographs depict resembles what the viewer sees, in real time, in the gallery. A Series of Projections (2010) explores similar conflations via black-and-white photographs arranged diffusely on the gallery wall. Some of the images depict a shattered piece of pottery on a wood table, others the empty tabletop; a third type show a dark room on whose wall a filmic projection is vaguely discernible. The projection in each of these photos reveals itself to be an image from a 1960s-era photo archive. While nearly abstract, these give off an air of public history intentionally closed off from the everyday. Which, in turn, imbues the banal table and ceramic shards with the seeming significance of precious artifacts. Through December 30 at CAM (Contemporary Art Museum St. Louis), 3750 Washington Boulevard; 314-535-4660 or www.camstl.org. Hours: 11 a.m.-6 p.m. Wed., 11 a.m.-9 p.m. Thurs.-Fri., 10 a.m.-5 p.m. Sat.-Sun.

 
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