Thursday, July 26, 2001

"The Female Persona" Jack Hartigan and Michelle Pemberton - Easter Conservation Services - July 26, 2001 - 2 1/2 stars

Pemberton's "Mother's Little Helper" series, cramped in the gilding and frame restoration dream haven, is hysterical. The 1950's Betty Crocker housewife ideal is parodied in these staged stark black and white shots with high camp props and a modern look. A model, cigarette dangling from her lip, in one shot looks like a haggard moping mess ready to get gooped up for the prom - she also looks as if she's about to bust with laughter at this scenario she's in. Lucky Strikes are tucked into the huge lace-banded nylon panties of a bored Valium-popping model primping for a big night she's obviously somewhat chagrined about. Add the McCall's, prissy wallpaper, train cases and rollers and you've got a charming mythical mockery of 1950's dress-up. The "Seasons" series is soft with tea-stained tones. The overlapping dreamy images of a bouquet-headed beauty look like architectural stone embellishments. Hartigan's photos of centerfolds defaced on the wall of a downtown building, are really graceful, but boring sociological surveys. The textured, spoiled remnants of bombshell babe bedroom shots simply appear as simplistic abstract indiscernible swaps in these large pieces well juxtaposed with Pemberton's work. Through July 27, 2001. 317-507-4701. - Mary Lee Pappas

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