"Dream Jamaica" at Corporate and Museum Frame transports viewers to an exotic, ethereal landscape.
A Virtual Voyage
For everyone who didn't plan a trip to the tropics for spring break, there is Corporate and Museum Frame's current show "Dream Jamaica." A gauzy, dreamy set of hand-tinted infrared photographs awaits you there. The collaborative project of photographer Johnny O'Brien and painter Janet Summers, these verdant images are serene, romantic and hauntingly lovely. Some are even better than that, tipping nicely toward the supernatural and taking the dream to that edge of perfection where reality shifts, and, suddenly in the safe silence, there is an unnerving rustle or some predatory breathing just out of eyesight. But, no cause for alarm, this is probably just my own nervous condition talking. The artists themselves tend to elaborate on the ephemeral enchantment quiescent in the photos, and on the amazing natural paradise with its lingering remnants of old wealth that inspired them.
In fact and this is so annoying to a writer the artists have left no applicable adjective or adverb unturned in their artist statement, leaving the reviewer with little else but some rearranged plagiarisms. It is a condition that is somewhat in aesthetic service in many of the works themselves, as well. Even though there is an effectively mysterious, languid quality in all of the landscapes, compliments of the heat-sensitive film and a delicate Necco-wafer palette, some of the photographs suffer a bit from too much prettiness. A photo of a wrought-iron gate seems to contribute to this, or at least it can be observed lurking like an overextended adjective in all of the weaker images. Other scenes, such as "Trumpet Tree" and "Path and the Palms" are organizationally quite strong and additionally possess a measure of whimsy in the expressive postures of the plant life and their framing.
"As Above ... So Below" is an abstract piece and a visual delight, and noted by the red dot next to it, someone has already had the good sense to purchase it. O'Brien has zoomed in tightly on the exquisite foliage shapes in this piece and worked out the positive and negative space beautifully. "Gazebo Path" shares that luminous effect of carefully considered positive and negative forces. "Agapanthus" washes ethereally into midrange grays without losing a thing. It is another overtly pretty piece, but not a tiresome one. Complex and layered in botanical patterning, the best way to describe it is to suggest that it emits a faint fragrance. While it effectively uses a neutralized range of light and shadow, other works do relinquish some energy absent sufficient contrast.
Art often transcends beauty when it is not so busy being about it, but even when a work is intentionally dressed to attract, it can sometimes give something enduringly succulent to the viewer. Many of these photographs from "Dream Jamaica" do hold water rather
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