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Review: Alice Hargrave/Experimental Sound Studio

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Two decades ago, when Alice Hargrave exhibited her black-and-white photography at the Cultural Center, she was consumed by a deep and unsparing gothic sensibility of ominous distress. Still fascinated by the “sublime decay and disintegration that occurs over time,” Hargrave now shoots in color and has plunged into the unforgiving tunnel of nostalgia, producing medium-format studies of depopulated landscapes depicting places where her family lived, and miniatures of worn images from family albums that she has re-photographed. In both series, Hargrave’s subjects are forbidding and inaccessible—faded and faint in the miniatures, and shadowed in the landscapes of dark woods that we are reluctant to explore. Standing alone as the only larger close-up, Hargrave’s impression of a blackened stack of books lying on a table, backgrounded by a softly focused white fog blanketing the forest beyond a window, encapsulates her sensibility—the past will irrevocably remain opaque to us, we can’t go home again, and it is all so somber. (Michael Weinstein)

Through July 18 at Experimental Sound Studio, 5925 N. Ravenswood

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