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Review: Mechthild Op Gen Oorth/Alliance Française

Gold Coast/Old Town, Photography Add comments

RECOMMENDED

Shooting in black and white, and achieving both the most subtle and the most glaring tones, German-born Chicagoan Mechthild Op Gen Oorth is an architectural street photographer who melds the designs of the cityscape with the intimacy of the wandering observer’s personal look. The attraction of Oorth’s studies of stolid buildings, glistening rain-coated cobblestone streets, sculptural passageways, and shop windows is her effort—often successful—to put the contrasting values of her sensibility into a single image evincing a clear though complex emotion. In “It Might Rain,” we look into a narrow street gleaming after a recent rain; dappled tones play over the cobblestones, but all repose vanishes when our eye catches a glaring patch of light effacing part of the scene like a brilliant fog. We have been blinded by the light, but everything is still there and we are just the same. (Michael Weinstein)

Through March 30 at the Alliance Française, 54 West Chicago

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