In one of the most illuminating and intriguing educational exhibitions to be mounted in Chicago in recent memory, Catherine Edelman has brought together twenty-eight photographers and, for each of them, has paired a full-size image with the contact sheet from which it was selected. Call it conceptual curating at its finest; no wall text is required—and none provided—for viewers to test their judgment against the photographer’s and to try to understand the choices that were made and then second guess them.
In some cases, the exposures of the same subject on the proof sheet wildly vary in tonality, vantage point and content; in others, they are nearly identical. For sheer delight, check out Howard Schatz’s performance portrait of bearded John Malkovich pretending that he is 4 years old and experiencing his “first time at the circus” with sheer awestruck astonishment. On the proof sheet we see Malkovich sporting expressions of enraptured glee, shocked wonderment and dumbfounded anticipation; the takes should all have been blown up to give the complete effect of a visual rollercoaster ride. (Michael Weinstein)
Through September 4 at Catherine Edelman Gallery, 300 West Superior.