Inchoate Borders Between Brush and Lens

A photographic show incorporates a painter’s palette and her ethereal intent

Loretta Lux has remarkable color photographs on view at Yossi Milo Gallery. Lux is a German artist living and working in Ireland, and this is her first New York show.

Lux trained as a painter and these photographs of individual children are at once realistic and otherworldly. Using a digital technique superimposed upon her own painting, Lux drops the carefully composed and costumed images of the children into random environments. By digitally enhancing various aspects of the image, “to make them meet her ideas perfectly,” she portrays a sense of alienation and isolation.

The youngsters appear to be between three and nine years of age. Their pale complexions and enormous eyes lend to their sense of detachment. Seemingly caught mid-thought––just being, not doing––the children maintain an eerie air of guilelessness amidst the projection of clearly adult concerns. They attain maturity well beyond their years.

The lack of self-consciousness she achieves in her subjects transforms them into a sort of “uberkinder.”

The photographs’ technical special effects evoke a feeling of science fiction, a hyper-reality. A pale and ethereal photographic palette, along with clothing that is retro-stylish––an odd mixture of 50s, 60s and 70s—is similar to the current Prada advertising campaign, “Then is Now.”

Lux’s photographs are not in any way what is usually considered children’s portraiture.

The composition seems to be influenced as much by old masters as by any dialogue with current art and photography. The lack of shadow in the photos––all areas of the compositions are evenly lit––lends another eerie aspect to the works.

The disassociation caused by all of this technique leaves the viewer in a slightly odd new world. Neither here nor there, the children are in an imaginary kingdom.

This showing begs for an extended viewing, not a quality always found in this genre.

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