Monday, April 13, 2009

Ray K. Metzker, Wanderings @Laurence Miller

JTF (just the facts): A total of 31 images, mostly framed in white and matted, and hung in the entry and one large room in the gallery. The pictures range from 1969 to 2008, though most were taken in the 1980s. (Installation shots at right.)

Comments/Context: If a musician has had a long enough career, along the way at some point, all the songs that didn't make it onto one of the albums are gathered up and released on their own as a group. By definition, none of these songs was so great that it merited singular attention in the past, but at this point, they are good enough to help fill in a broader and deeper view of the artist's entire output, and are especially of interest to committed fans.

The current Metzker show on view at Laurence Miller is the photographic equivalent of this out takes and b-sides album. It is a collection of odds and ends that fell outside Metzker's more famous projects, images that don't exactly fit into a neat and tidy narrative of his work. What is common to the pictures is Metzker's keen eye for abstraction and pattern. There are fences, reflections in car windshields, dark shadows, dense wood construction, and even nature (trees/bushes), all seen with a fragmented two dimensional flatness that concentrates the attention on the lines and forms rather than the subject matter. Another group of images use a blurred tree as an interrupting device, throwing the images out of kilter, echoing his Pictus Interruptus series of the late 1970s. While none of these qualify as Metzker's best, his unique approach to picture making is very much in evidence, and there are many excellent pictures to be found among these wanderings.

Collector's POV: For the most part, the images in the show are $5000, with one at $6000 and another at $10000. There is a small group of vintage 1960's images from Metzker's more famous work tucked away on one wall, priced between $7500 and $40000. We still don't have a Metzker in our collection at this point, although we continue to actively look for just the right one. In this show, I enjoyed the four fence images pictured above best.

Rating: * (one star) GOOD (rating system described here)

Laurence Miller Gallery
20 West 57th Street
New York, NY 10019

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