Creatures, Shane LaVancher’s series of stunning and highly composed black and white photographs, are on view at Orchard Windows Gallery. Dino Eli, who runs the gallery, has a knack for choosing artists who will get under your skin and LaVancher is no exception.
A fashion photographer, LaVancher has styled and art directed his model within an inch of her life. The images offer a thoroughly rarified, austere aesthetic that is as pleasing as it is perplexing. The model appears in incongruous settings, an exotic bird in a gilded cage. The photographer says he’s fascinated with the female form and that the series “blends my fascination with alteration and my interest in the human body.”
As he created the images, he says he was thinking about human vulnerability and mortality, and how “we cope with the constant changing perceptions of our identity amid increasing technological development.” The viewer searches for clues as to how the images were crafted, composed and altered. Kudos to model Caitlin Dodge Sloat, special effects and makeup by Talysha Monee. Through July 5.
A show at Lisa Cooley, teased here last week, showcases the talents of Josh Faught whose opening of Longtime Companion, marks his second solo run at the gallery. The title of the show is appropriated from an expression coined by the New York Times when it was used to describe the surviving partner of a person who died of AIDS. It’s also the name of a 1989 film starring Campbell Scott and Mary-Louise Parker. The title aptly sets the stage for the exhibition which alludes to issues surrounding intimacy, privacy, language and politics.
Faught uses weaving and other traditional crafts to explore what the gallery describes as “marginalized feelings.” Just what those feelings are, of course, will depend largely on the viewer’s mood. Fraught’s work has the look of homespun wall hangings, featuring an intriguing mix of hemp weaves, sagging and draped fabric, loofah-like burrows, pockets, knots and webs. Faught alters these textiles. For example, panels from the AIDS Quilt are reproduced by mail-order manufacturers as a way to reconsider the context of its memorialization. There are newsletters from PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) and woven chapter titles from Dungeon Emergencies and Supplies.
Faught’s work Calendar offers a selection of inspirational greeting cards with “toilet paper” topping the list of the “top ten things to be grateful for.” Much of Faught’s work hinges on teasing out conflicting impulses. Political messages are co-mingled with more flamboyant thoughts. Through July 29.
Orchard Windows Gallery/ 37 Orchard St./ 917.995.1001/ Tues.-Sun. 11 a.m. to 6 p.m. Through July 5.
Lisa Cooley/ 107 Norfolk St./ 212.680.0564/ Wed.-Sun. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m., Summer hours Tues.-Fri. 10 a.m. to 6 p.m. after 7/4.
TLD contributor Tobi Elkin is a writer, editor and interviewer. A former Lower East Side resident, she delights in the neighborhood’s eclectic and diverse pleasures. Visit her website at tobielkin.com.