Shooting the streets and sidewalks of Chicago in color, at any time of day and night, through the windows of his car when heavy and clinging rains are falling, Bill Sosin captures the miasma in which we are enveloped at those moments. If we are not too drenched and assaulted by the wind and the chill to notice, such scenes can have a rough yet melting beauty for us, with which Sosin is enthralled.
As is the case with nearly all photographic projects that deploy natural elements to efface the world’s delineation, Sosin’s images run the gamut between those in which his subjects are discernible through the veil that clothes them, and those in which his subjects are entirely dissolved by their coating. He is successful with both strategies and their gradations, because in all cases the diffraction and reflection of light, and the fragmentation of shapes produced by the raindrops create a kaleidoscopic array of colored forms that delights the eye through its endless unfamiliar variations and yet remains at a distance from the viewer, too unruly to be possessed.
In an image on the more figurative side, a wet snow falls on a street being crossed by a charcoal gray figure who has been reduced to a silhouette; he steps forward surrounded by muted green, pink and gray pools and patches bathed in an atmosphere of dirty black snowflakes. At Sosin’s most abstract, the scene beyond his car’s window has been totally occluded by a blue sheet of rain broken by black holes opening to deep night, and starburst flashes of white light, an astral vision. Sosin’s Chicago is harsh and alluring, a place where beauty and sublimity clash and join, and he affirms it. (Michael Weinstein)
Through January 3 at Chicago Art Source, 1871 North Clybourn.