Clay’s "Untitled" series is an installation comprising three photographs illuminated in light boxes, two small framed oval images of photography and text, and black vinyl text installed at intervals across the gallery walls and spaced between the photographs. While the installation includes photography it nevertheless refers to painting. The composition, color and subject of the illuminated photographs recall Jacques-Louis David’s portrait of Juliette Récamier. Unlike Madame Récamier, the woman in Clay’s photographs, who is the artist herself, denies the viewer her gaze: her back and head are turned, and then she gets up and exits the frame. The images in the oval frames are similarly elusive by being fragmentary. Correspondingly, the wall text does not explain the photos and instead signals dreaming, daily life, and poetic reverie. Photographic clarity and meaning in language, especially in the gallery context, yield to private, inner experience.
Exhibition: Walter Phillips Gallery, Imaginary Standard Distance, Banff, Alberta, 2002.
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