Exploring themes of life and death Photo exhibit has collages, portraits

March 16, 1993|By John Dorsey | John Dorsey,Art Critic

Cathy Leaycraft's photos of collages (which themselves are made from photos) deal with such large subjects as life and death and the nature of woman. But they do so with a slanted perspective and the kind of ambiguity that leaves open possibilities of interpretation and keeps the work interesting -- when it doesn't become so open that meaning drains away.

"Sorceress of the Dune," one of the most thoroughly integrated of the works currently on view at Resurgam Gallery, surrounds a young girl playing and an older woman observer with a surreal landscape of sand, rocks and clouds. We may be witnessing two generations of the same person, as the older figure recalls her childhood; or this may be about some form of protection, perhaps super

natural; or it may deal with questions of loss of innocence and xTC original sin. Here as elsewhere one of Leaycraft's strengths is that her better works are visually interesting, quite apart from their content.

"Woman in Lilliputian Garden" combines the upper body of a nude woman wearing dark glasses with several red flowers and a picture of a sculpture featuring a woman and two children. One thinks of sacred and profane love, of the impersonality of the modern world, of the interrelationship of art, nature and life.

MA Sometimes Leaycraft is more obvious, as in "Time Capsule," in

which a tomb and keys suggest death and the possibilities of either rebirth, regeneration or the continuing cycles of life. And sometimes she just fails, as with the confused "Earthenware Genie." But mostly she has something, and often a lot, to communicate.

Showing with her is the photographer Charles Freeman, whose work especially in portraiture will be familiar to readers of Regardie's, Warfield's, the Advocate and other periodicals. His best work here is in the front room, a group of five black and white portraits that approach life size and that leave the impression they have captured something essential about their subjects.

That is especially true of "Chris," "Ardai" and "Anne," who appear to have given so much of themselves to the photograph that there couldn't be a whole lot more out there inhabiting the actual person. The photographs, in other words, seems to have robbed the subjects of some of their being, which is saying something.


What: Two Artists

Where: Resurgam Gallery, 910 S. Charles St.

When: Wednesdays through Saturdays noon to 6 p.m., through Saturday.

Call: (410) 962-0513.


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