The Austin Chronicle


Reviewed by Wayne Alan Brenner, September 2, 2011, Arts

'From Specifics, From Concrete Evidence, From Things'

Pump Project, 702 Shady, 351-8571
Through Sept. 10

"We are living in a material world

and I am a material girl."

– Madonna, "Material Girl"

Of course, Madonna didn't write those words; she was merely the object of transmission for a song conjured by Peter Brown and Robert Rans. But to call Madonna "merely" anything would be to deny her obvious – especially in the Eighties – power. The power of some objects, though – actual objecty objects as opposed to a commodified celebrity – is not so obvious, even though we are all living in a material (if not as Madonna-level glitzy) world. We're surrounded by objects we've acquired, objects that belong to others, countless objects (fabricated or occurring without human assistance) that make up our everyday environment.

In the new show at Pump Project, Austin-based photographers Adam Boley, Megan Carney, and Rebecca Marino explore their respective object-based environments, bringing their F-stop sensibilities to bear on the world around them, the things that personally engage them. Carney offers the most design-influenced displays, her images often manipulated into bold shapes as in Clarinet Reeds and Fireplace and the stark and textbookish vision of a gastrointestinal model in A Family History. Marino, the instigator of this three-person show, presents things more as they are: her removed teeth on a handkerchief, a box of what appears to be strips of diffraction-grating paper, a still life with a water glass and a book and a roach (the dope, not the bug), the worldly bits of a human life. Boley goes macro, reducing objects to the micro, presenting rural landscapes which are, of course, composed of myriad objects – trees, piles of gravel, blades of grass – that we familiarly congeal to singularity.

The power of some objects is not so obvious, but it's highlighted here via the precise composition and impressive size of these images, via the vivid photoreproduction possible in these techy times. This is a fine show of work, deeper than but as unforgettable as a pop hit from your youth. These objects, subjected to your notice, will not disappoint.

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