Two of the photographers in Anne Loucks’ summer photography show hail from Toronto, but all three travel the world in search of the perfect image. All three are also interested in grand spaces, both interior and exterior.
Canadian David Burdeny lives large. The gallery has some of his wildlife images and other travel images, but his vast and beautifully captured interiors are the most powerful. In the image “Library, Naples,” it is not exaggerating to say that each book is portrayed so clearly that one feels the urge to reach out and pluck one off the wall-to-wall, floor-to-ceiling shelving.
His image “Reggia di Casserta” is also stunning, showing each detail of the magnificent carved-marble double staircase. The light is beatific—two lions turn their backs to us, guarding the ascending staircase below. This is the kind of work that makes you want to go online and buy a ticket to visit these magical places in person.
Joshua Jensen-Nagle, the other Canadian of the threesome, takes a completely different approach. His image of Piazza San Marco in Venice, titled “Lost Together,” is taken from a high vantage, dwarfing the crowd below. One of the tactics used by Jensen-Nagle is that of selective desaturation—the sky, ground and the buildings on the Piazza are pale, deliberately washed out, making the brightly colored crowd stand out. In “Now You’re All Gone,” a wan and hazy beach scene, people do all the things they normally do on a beach, but appear almost fleeting, as if they will disappear one at a time, leaving the beach empty. Jensen-Nagle’s process is fascinating, rendering the images into faded holiday postcards from the mid-nineteenth century.
The third artist, Laurie Victor Kay, shows an image called “Les Chaises Bleues.” Kay has made an image of a palatial Tiffany-blue room, replete with plasterwork and lavishly gilded sconces and mirrors, and a massive crystal chandelier. Studying the image, one sees that every minute detail of both sides is identical, which in reality it could never be. Looking closely at the chandelier, you can see that the entire photograph has been severed in the center and flipped to create a perfectly symmetrical image. This clever trompe-l’œil effect is intriguing if a little unsettling. It’s effective in this image, but not as much so in the image titled “Les Chaises Rouges III,” in which the walls appear to be closing in on the viewer. But the fact that there are matching folding chairs in among the historic French seating adds a note of quirkiness to the photograph.
The show is a mixed bag, which I’m told is usual in the Summer Photography Show at the gallery. In any case, if you find yourself in Glencoe, it’s definitely worth a look.
“Photography 2023: Artist’s Eye” at Anne Loucks Gallery 309 Park Avenue, Glencoe, on view through September 20.