Wednesday, September 07, 2005

Larry Endicott "Kuala Lumpur: A Photography Journey" - Stutz Gallery - Sept. 7, 2005 - 3 1/2 stars

What's most artful about this series is the paper treatment upon which these ink jet images are printed. The watercolor paper, glistening from its murky and yellowed polyurethane coating, adds to the sense of quietness all of these pieces by this Creative Renewal Fellow achieve. Fortunately, it smartly lends a bit of sympathy as well to some of the weaker, ordinary images. Unframed, copper nails adhere them to the crooked line of walls that compose the Stutz Gallery. Framed, one will set you back $1,200 - an optimistic asking price. There appear to be two aesthetics at play in this series that, as a whole, is a refreshingly refined break from Endicott's typical stylized and commercial leanings. Most pieces have straight-on vantages (a 50 mm feel) of Malaysian life shot with an inconsistent journalistic edge ("Performance Series #2" of an older couple singing on a sidewalk is amazing while "Greetings" is baffling), though the group of images lacks a story and incompletely documents his mission to contrast capitalism against poverty. This work does not feel like a series. Considering the times, this contrast could have been demonstrated anywhere in the U.S. where the divide between rich and poor is widening. How and why did this necessitate a trip to Malaysia? Had Endicott exhibited the images that encompass the towering buildings and contrasting cityscapes exclusively, like the stand-alone image "Homestead" (also called "Passenger"), it would have nailed his aim and made for a consistent, more successful show. Seen as a series (not broken down into like groups or some sequence) it's not as effective. Building images "Overseer" and "Radiant" possess a dreamlike stillness and emptiness that encompass a great amount of energy and life - they're great. Individually, most of the photos do have worth, proof that Endicott's drive to hone his skills has evolved and practice pays off. Seen as a whole, it's choppy, but could have been aided through a process of elimination. Through Sept. 13, 2005; 317-833-7000. -Mary Lee Pappas

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