Enamored of his Korean-American family, which landed deep in the heart of small-town Texas, Peter Ha, who now lives in Chicago, went back to his roots and presents us with softly shadowed color photographs of life on the old homestead. He depicts his kinfolk as unassuming people, deploying a restrained approach to them; indeed, a deep sense of languor permeates the images, the most dynamic of which captures one of Ha’s nephews with legs aloft and flailing, and the rest of his body hidden behind the side of a bed—what we might have thought was exuberant play turns out to be the result of falling off the bed. Ha’s banner photo shows his mother hunched on the side of a chair staring blankly into the void, as his father sprawls inertly on a couch behind her. There is no message here about immigrant angst—just a glimpse, delivered with affection and understated wit, of Ha’s American life. (Michael Weinstein)
Peter Ha’s “Affinities” shows through September 20 at Finch Gallery, 2747 W. Armitage, (312)622-8921.