Wednesday, June 18, 2014

Leigh Ledare @ Mitchell-Innes & Nash

Man, Roe Ethridge’s art of stop making sense and love for vernacular images as an editing device to create context and an odd opaque meaning has really jumped the shark when even Leigh Ledare is working out his mother-fucking issues by creating 60’s snapshots and collaging 60’s magazines and overlaying them on top of copies of the New York Times. I am not sure what to make of the sexualized nudes of his mom from past work. It seemed like a cheap shock that made me feel genuinely uncomfortable. So is that good? I don’t know, but at the least it isn’t forgettable. The current show involves his sexually graphic pictures of his ex-wife and sexualized pictures of his ex-wife taken in the same cabin by her current husband. Which struck me as crazy and hard to understand. But I guess if you are marrying a man who makes sexualized pictures of his mother naked then you’re going in with open eyes and possibly a certain sympathy if not enthusiasm for the work. My objection is more to the form. When she is wearing clothes, why she is she in a retro 60’s outfit with matching period-appropriate hair? Why are the pictures printed 4x6in with a thin white border like 60’s era snapshots? Why the retro collaged magazines? Seems weird to mitigate this very extreme emotional act through the contemporary photographic strategy of taking on vernacular photography. It’s just not subject matter that, at the same time, supports commenting on the nature of photography. Maybe he is trying to cast his ex-wife, as his mother? Is that reading a little too much into the work?

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