A new twist on the old truth that the photograph, especially when it is meant to flatter a product or a person, or show an ideal situation, has nothing to do with actual life is provided by Aron Gent in his twelve color photos that send up staged and posed images by showing their evil doppelgangers. The most ingenious and successful of Gent’s conceits is to stage a scenario in which a fictitious family that is to be posed for a celebratory dinner portrait is caught before the set-up in a variety of detached postures and expressions. The result is visual shaggy-dog humor (and Gent gives us one of those canines elsewhere) spiked with a shot of dyspepsia. Gent, to be sure, is using a simulation of real life (his scenario of the detached family) to challenge the delusions of simulated family happiness in contrived celebratory portraits. A more good-humored chuckle is evoked by Gent’s image of a platter of Fourth of July ice-cream cones, with red and blue M&Ms eyes, sinking into a dissolving melt. Time is perpetual perishing, said John Locke, and Gent has taken that lesson into the realm of pure simulation. (Michael Weinstein)
Through October 9 at the Hyde Park Art Center, 5020 South Cornell
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