‘Beau Comeaux: Implied Fictions’
These manipulated images offer an eerie, more vivid replica of the world
Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, Fri., July 22, 2011
'Beau Comeaux: Implied Fictions'
B. Hollyman Gallery, 1202-A W. Sixth, 825-6866
Through Aug. 20
When something's running – a faucet, a gemsbok, a suspected felon – you're going to need the proper equipment and F-stop settings and such to capture that action photographically. This is easier to do if photography itself runs in the family – and if you're the Hollyman family behind the B. Hollyman Gallery there on West Sixth, then that's exactly where photography and much talent does run.
This latest show is outside the storied family, mind you, but it's beautifully displayed in the family's gallery. Pay heed to "Implied Fictions," a collection of photographic prints by a fellow with the distinctly Cajun moniker of Beau Comeaux.
Ernest Hemingway's mandate to start with one true thing provides the B. Hollyman Gallery's epigram and guiding principle. Fitting, then, that Comeaux's photos start with one true thing – a corner store in a failing urban space, an A-frame building in a vacant lot, a park bench shrouded by tree-thickened night in which the moon seems a glowing, white hole in the sky – that is tweaked and prodded with light manipulation and tilt-shift techniques and lens variations and Adobe only knows what else until it becomes another true thing: the solid resolution of the argument between the actual scene and what the artist wants that scene to look like. Comeaux shows us a world that is an eerie, more vivid replica of the world we thought we already knew. Nothing running here; life, already still, further trapped in archival amber.
Too many words, right? Especially since a picture's supposed to be worth a thousand of them, even before inflation. Fair trade: It's like that scene in David Lynch's Mulholland Dr., in which the young director meets The Cowboy – the flickering lightbulb at the top of the tall gate in the darkness, the stark illumination and saturated colors fighting obscurity among the ever-encroaching shadows.
Good: That will do for comparison. Especially if it impresses you or makes you curious enough to go and check out the unnerving scapes of "Implied Fictions" for yourself – because we recommend that. You needn't run like a faucet, a gemsbok, Dr. Richard Kimble searching for the one-armed man; no, you can simply walk there on an afternoon and peruse Comeaux's series of large (say, 20 inches by 30 inches) pigment prints of territories you'd otherwise need much peyote to witness for yourself.