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Review: Patrick Nagatani/International Museum of Surgical Science

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World-class postmodern scenario photographer Patrick Nagatani has also pursued a passion for chromatherapy—“healing with colored light”—for more than three decades. The marriage of his two devotions is made in aesthetic heaven, as his color photos documenting the practices and subjects of chromatherapy around the world exquisitely demonstrate. The play of light and hue—here muted and there brilliant, here revealing and there effacing and distorting—allows Nagatani to create intricate compositions that attract by their unfamiliarity, as though we were inside a hall of dazzling dreams festooned with apparatus; these are scenarios that were ready made for Nagatani’s imaginative vision. Three glowing nubile young women standing next to each other bathed in red, purple and green light, respectively, with their hands at their sides and their palms open are not artist models but the subjects of a “primary light test” at the Beijing Institute of Scientific Study, as the white-coated technician standing to the side makes plain. There is always a cutting edge to Nagatani’s photography, even when he embraces “non-invasive healing.” (Michael Weinstein)

Through August 20 at the International Museum of Surgical Science, 1524 North Lake Shore Drive.

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