Thursday, July 26, 2012

Melanie Willhide, to Adrian Rodriguez, with Love @ Von Lintel Gallery

For some time, I have had a hard time trusting Willhide’s process, which ads a nice level of intrigue to her very furtive little glimpse of salacious moments. Her photographs through the back of snapshots, focusing on the labeling on the back of photographs while at the same time slightly revealing the front image, always made me suspect that we were being shown something not based on optics but on some Photoshop sleight of hand. But the possible deception gave the barely visible image a heightened sense of taboo, like suddenly becoming aware that you are living in a noir plot past your own understanding.

With this show, Willhide takes her disconnected and evocative work a step further with a back story that involves a break-in, followed by the retrieval of a stolen computer and a wiped, then recovered hard drive that reveled corrupted images. Pictures that serve as a jumping off point for her disorienting, glitchy imagery that borders on the abstract while retaining hints of vintage pornography and staged indecipherable narratives. Her work is starting to unfold like a later season of Twin Peaks, where the dark offbeat tale turns into a more and more unstable narrative, and so far I am enjoying the ride.

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