The Terminal Beach

Floating in an ocean or lake, 49-year-old Japanese photographer Asako Narahashi partially submerges her camera and aims the lens back toward shore. The resulting four-and-a-half-foot-wide pictures present skewed horizon lines, with distant landmarks listing beyond the dark, scalloped waves that make up the foreground of each shot. The simple conceit of filling much of the frame with water works surprisingly well in its abstract mix of textures: Ueno (2003) features smooth green swells that give way to a pink stippling of cherry blossoms; in Kawaguchiko, blurry droplets unify a composition of soft, indigo undulations against the stark triangle of Mount Fuji. Although a paddleboat can be identified in one corner of Ueno, any feelings of playfulness are trumped by the absence of solid ground; the large scale pulls you into these off-kilter images, conveying a sense of legs and torso swaying beneath the surface, where the unknown might slither up and nuzzle you. In Zeze, a tawny, irradiated glow emanates from the frothy water that fills most of the picture, and the wedge of far-off hills offers scant salvation from the steepening crests. Skyscrapers and bridges seem to rise directly out of the waves, lending the imagery a dystopian vibe. In Jonanjima, a steely incline of water dwarfs a plane angling through the pewter sky—with no land in sight and little color save for molten grays, the passenger jet might be some futuristic Flying Dutchman endlessly cruising over a drowned world.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 11 a.m. Starts: Aug. 6. Continues through Aug. 22, 2008

 
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