Wednesday, September 18, 2013

Ordinary Things: Brian James @ Arts Lofts

Personal Note: A lot of people bypass Arts Lofts openings on 2nd Saturday Art Walks in favor of the bigger venues. They are shortchanging themselves. The artists at the Lofts are easily the equal of thoe found anywhere along the 2nd Sat Pilgrim's route. A few of the great things about the Lofts is that they open a little earlier than the other venues, and you can walk through the artists' studios and talk with them first hand.


Brian James is part of the elite club of  handsome, intrepid-looking fashion photographers in the area. Commercial photographers tend to be thoroughly steeped in the technical, making them able to actualize their clients' vision -- and their own. This show is titled "Ordinary Things". Two types of photographs are shown, fashion photographs, with the usual highly stylized design, accessorizing, etc., of stereotypically beautiful fantasy women models.

Brian James, untitled.

What's ordinary about the above photograph? Not the subject, what she is wearing, the lighting or composition. It is what she is doing, something we have all done at one time or another. The context if the ordinary thing.

The main body of the works involve models holding objects in front of their genitals and pubic hair. They are cropped below the sternum and mid-thigh, these photographs are in the style of classic studio art photography, particularly from the mid 60s to the early 80s, with non-distracting lightly toned backgrounds and consistent lighting.

Brian James, untitled.

These objects have metaphorical significance. Posed in front of a woman's genitalia in the above quartet of images, we find objects with sexual overtones: A drill, hammer, measuring tape and box.

Other are a little more open-ended, though still sexual in nature, like the image below, where the object is a unicorn.

Brian James, untitled.

In this series, the play between content and context is explored well.

Congratulations to Arts Lofts and Brian James for a good show.

--- Luis

Arts Lofts Gallery

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