Friday, March 3, 2017

You're So Columbo

Like it or not, I am a product of my time.

You can lead a 20th century woman to digitally-manipulated photographs, but you can't stop her from looking for reality where none exists.

Tonight was the opening of "Chop Shop" at Gandela Gallery, a show of seven artists transforming photographic images through digital manipulation, with four of the artists talking to kick things off.

One of the photographers, Tom Chambers, referred to the pieces as a "distortion of the truth. Call them alternative facts, that's me and Donny."

Please don't remind us.

Nadine Boughton's works used cut-out magazine photographs from the 40s, '50s and early '60s to comment on gender issues and raise a cloud of ambiguity, while Peter Leighton combined elements from different vintage photos into a wholly new image. Blythe King used women from the pages of the Montgomery Ward catalog to reinterpret women's roles and filter it through a haze of divinity, as only a millennial can do.

My problem is my brain forgets to adjust for the 21st century, so it looks at these images and tries to find the reality there and no such thing exists. I'm looking for evidence of collage and mixed media and these photographs reflect a world that never was.

Desperately seeking a way to ground these pictures in what my mind recognizes, I have to finally accept them as shaping their own design independent of truth.

A metaphor, perhaps, for this cowardly, new world we live in.

Likewise, you can go see Heritage Ensemble Theatre Company's "Choirboy" at Richmond Triangle Players and find yourself mulling the same hard truths that defined the Oscar-winning film "Moonlight": it's not easy to be gay and out in the black community, much less at a tony black prep school.

Besides the pleasure of watching talented young actors I'd not seen before, the play was also a showcase for gospel music and multiple-part harmonies that could make the hair on your arms stand up when they sang a capella (for the most part, the only accompaniment was snapping fingers and stomping feet, sometimes from backstage) just opening their mouths.

It was another in the Acts of Faith Festival that dances around issues of faith in ways that even full-blown heathens like me can digest and appreciate.

Which is more than I can say for the dinner my hired mouth, favorite walking companion and I began the night with. Ah, well.

As Meat Loaf the philosopher would say, two out of three ain't bad.

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