Art

Jin Ming's Behind My Eyes, 2nd Movement, Plate 1 (2002)
photo: Laurence Miller Gallery
Jin Ming's Behind My Eyes, 2nd Movement, Plate 1 (2002)

Although this Beijing-born, New York–based artist's photos of crashing waves and fields of dying sunflowers are almost operatically overwrought, their intensity never seems faked or forced. That's not to say Jin Ming doesn't manipulate her pictures for maximum effect. Her sunflower diptychs are printed as toned black-and-white negative images, so the white hoods protecting many of the flowers appear as dark shrouds under black skies—panoramas thronged with windblown widows or the black-robed devout. These are rendered all the more striking because the fields themselves look flash-frozen and glazed with a silvery lunar light, not unlike the eerie video images recorded at atomic bomb tests. In several photos, telephone poles dot the distant horizon like spindly crosses, underlining the work's apocalyptic aspect. The seascapes, some of which conflate at least two images of ocean and sky, are even more dramatically over-the-top. Foaming surf and sooty clouds merge and fill the frame edge to edge with grainy cataclysm—a hellish, baroque vision that recalls Gustave Doré's illustrations for Dante's Inferno.

 
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