Review: Eclectic mix of photographers from across country at MOCA GA


“Fast Forward//Rewind” at the Museum of Contemporary Art of Georgia is an exhibition of photo-based work steeped in blazing color, theatricality, eccentricity and a definite streak of humor.

The show’s origins are the annual “Ones to Watch” exhibitions organized over the past eight years by local collector and curator Mary Wilson Stanley and presented as part of the annual Atlanta Celebrates Photography event to highlight a group of national photographers of note selected by Stanley.

RELATED: Gallery exhibitions focus on photography

RELATED: Review: Paul Graham’s photos of inequality are gorgeous, heart-rending

The array of artists included here defies easy categorization beyond personal taste: Well-established vets like Nancy Floyd, Bill Yates and Carl Martin rub elbows with new kids on the block like Portland-based Holly Andres. Andres continues her fascination with retro-infused storytelling, part film still and part storybook in her inimitable, wonderfully elliptical “The Summer of Hornets.” In a series of Kodachrome-rich images, we watch a lovely middle-American family contend with a plague of insects invading their sunny domestic calm.

If there’s a unifying thread in much of “Fast Forward//Rewind,” it is a shared love of excess in both theme and form and a curator who enjoys the art of juxtaposition, the better to goose a reaction from viewers. And though there are works in black and white in the mix, it’s the highly stylized, saturated color work like Langdon Clay’s grimy, atmospheric ’70s-era color shots of cars on New York City streets coordinated to their settings like chameleons miming their environment that tends to stand out in “Fast Forward//Rewind.”

There is some laugh-out-loud funny work here. Suggesting a canny Elliott Erwitt observer of the small-scale absurdities of modern life, Trenton Moore offers images of commuters waiting for the bus glued to their individual cellphones or of a pot-bellied flaneur traversing the city on a Segway. Though living cheek to jowl, the people in Moore’s shots seem to spiritually reside on separate planets. Brooklyn-based artist Tommy Kha’s related images of disconnection are moody self-portraits of the diminutive photographer being passionately kissed by a rotating cast of Brooklyn hipsters. Kha stands side-eyed and passive, a block of wood amid all of that demonstrative amour. If you were so inclined, it would be tempting to read the series as a larger statement about the difficulty of intimacy in the age of Tinder.

For sheer audaciousness, it’s hard to beat the Hieronymus Bosch-meets-Matthew Barney lunacy of another NYC-based artist, Sarah Small. Her video piece “Tableau Vivant of the Delirium Constructions,” staged on scaffolding in an enormous historic bank building, is an outsize, fleshy spectacle modeled on Victorian-era tableau vivants, or “living pictures.” In the video, an array of 120 models in every shape and size and in various states of undress are arranged like dancers in a Busby Berkeley musical number as they act out a wedding cake scene of sex and romance. Small has said the work is about “the human quest for intimacy,” and there is a strange sweetness and vulnerability in all of these exposed, diverse people assembled for this carnivalesque performance.

RELATED: Cirque du Soleil’s ‘Luzia: A Waking Dream of Mexico’ comes to Atlanta soon

Offering up even more indie sexiness is photographer Teri Darnell’s theatrical portraits of gender-bending dress-up in the “Berlin Kabarett Der Namenlosen” series in which guys and dolls in elaborate wigs and costumes act out some Weimar Republic decadence.

In more socially engaged work, Deepanjan Mukhopadhyay examines the soul-crushing grind of outsourcing in “Outsourced: Fall.” And suggesting a redo of myths about black masculinity, Pulitzer Prize-winning San Francisco photographer Preston Gannaway offers tender images of playful, loving, complex gay black men.



Reader Comments ...


Next Up in Living

Queen Elizabeth surrounded by fashion royalty at her first London runway show
Queen Elizabeth surrounded by fashion royalty at her first London runway show

This year’s London Fashion Week ended with the biggest name in fashion meeting the biggest name in London. >> Read more trending news  Queen Elizabeth II made quite the splash Tuesday as she sat next to Vogue’s infamous editor-in-chief Anna Wintour in the queen’s historic appearance at a fashion show. Her Majesty came dressed...
5 one-liners not to miss in ‘Black Panther’
5 one-liners not to miss in ‘Black Panther’

Black Panther is smashing box office records and giving moviegoers across the world all of the feels. Social media is abuzz with pictures of moviegoers clad in colorful African pieces, including flowing fabric, hand-crafted jewelry and traditional dashikis and head ties. But the best part has been the one-liners rattled off in hilarious fashion throughout...
A ‘magazine’ will come to life on Variety Playhouse’s stage
A ‘magazine’ will come to life on Variety Playhouse’s stage

Of all the great contributions modern technology has made to society — GPS means no one gets lost anymore, you can stream “Game of Thrones” on your phone in the bathroom — it does have one obvious drawback: Newborn babies have better attention spans than most of us do now. Especially when it comes to reading. (Right now, you&rsquo...
5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa
5 wine tours a lot closer to home than Napa

You can take some of the most lavish, expensive wine tours in the world in the Napa Valley, where wines are all about heritage, taste and sophistication. These days, though, even the snootiest oenophile can find a worthy wine tasting in places far from California. And the same goes for the Napa-style custom of wine tours. Travelers in the South...
Bowls, jewelry and sculpture Mother Nature would love
Bowls, jewelry and sculpture Mother Nature would love

Since childhood, Mark Gardner has enjoyed working with his hands. But there is something about working with wood that gives the renowned artist the most satisfaction. The artist: Growing up in Cincinnati, Gardner started as a child working with wood, his father’s hobby. At 16, he enrolled in a furniture-making class at the University of Cincinnati...
More Stories