Demetrius Oliver's 'Observatory

Pickaxes rise up phallically in the middle of four-poster beds; table lamps colonize a hardwood floor like mushrooms; a lump of coal as big as a breadbasket shares a nightstand with scattered lightbulbs. After he composes these domestic conundrums, Demetrius Oliver photographs each one in the curved, tarnished metal of an old teapot; the effect is akin to an old-master interior seen through a fish-eye lens. A related series features the artist in a dark room, the lightbulbs in his hands illuminated by slide projections of his weird household tableaux—the bulbs' shapes distort the images even as they impart a palpable volume to the surrounding gloom. Give these dozens of pictures a little time and connections begin to glitter like constellations on a crisp night. A half-open packing crate casts a green glow like an irradiated coffin; the same box appears in another picture, its foam padding creating a bumpy screen for the projected image of a plunging stairwell. Ideas of perspective, space, and gravity are warped here, like the event horizon of a black hole. Any coherent narrative has been drawn into oblivion, leaving behind these tantalizingly beautiful afterimages.
Tuesdays-Saturdays, 10 a.m. Starts: Sept. 18. Continues through Sept. 27, 2008
 
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