Warnings, perhaps. Images gleaned from collective memory. Seductive fictions.
James Casebere's extraordinary new photographs at Grant Selwyn Fine Arts ride their multiplicity with grace. They are gorgeous, but at the same time, disquieting. They reference history, but with tremendous sensual immediacy.
"From the beginning," Casebere has said, "I had a tendency to conflate personal and social history--or psychological and political content."
The beginning, in terms of Casebere's career, was more than 20 years ago, and the tendency he describes has coursed through work that's grown increasingly complex and refined. The 10 new pictures here are big (displayed at 4 feet by 5 feet) digital chromogenic prints mounted on Plexiglas. Each depicts an interior of convincing texture and human scale that is actually a small cardboard and plaster model built by Casebere in his New York studio and exquisitely lighted for each photograph. The illusionistic quality alone is stunning (though intentionally not seamless). The body reads these spaces as accessible, functional, congruent with its own scale.
Several images position us at the end of a vaulted passageway, monastic in its austerity. Windows and arched doorways set deep within thick gray walls send raking light onto the dusty floor. The emptiness of the space is profound, as if not just vacant but abandoned.