Not extreme enough to be surrealist and not nonsensical enough to be dada, Aaron Fowler’s black-and-white and color photos—tacked and pasted modestly on the gallery’s walls—depict odd juxtapositions of objects and bodies that are as likely to provoke a smile as a frisson. For the show’s title image, “Ocean,” Fowler proffers a conch shell with a cell phone protruding from its cavity that rests on a wavy deep blue woolen blanket covering a capacious bed. The abounding cross-references and visual puns and metaphors in that picture seduce us into attempting to affix a single meaning to it, yet we are inevitably reduced to failure. Fowler is also capable of being direct, as when he presents, in “Pun kin,” a bright grinning orange jack-o’-lantern with one of its teeth tied to a string, the other end of which is wrapped around a door knob in obvious ominous preparation for a primitive dental extraction. Fowler’s hallmark is the gentle edge that his studies project on life. (Michael Weinstein)
Through July 11 at Hungryman Gallery, 2135 N. Rockwell
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