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Appearance and the perception of character are explored in 1708's "Eavesdropping." 

Double Vision

Linda Tripp recently unveiled on national television her "new and improved" face after several rounds of cosmetic surgery. Tripp swears that she never realized how ugly she was until so many people pointed it out after her 15 minutes of fame during the Lewinsky/Clinton scandal. Per Tripp, seeing herself on the news as others saw her proved (in her mind) that most people equated her physical ugliness with moral ugliness. Michael Krumrine's current show, "Eavesdropping," at 1708 Gallery calls to mind this concept of physiognomy, the pseudoscience that one's character can be determined by one's physical features. Employing found objects, photography and sculpture, often in a humorous manner, Krumrine explores concepts of perception that relate to physical appearance, character cognition and phenomenological receptions of the world around us. "Symmetricizer," for example, is a wall piece consisting of school portraitlike photographic head shots of a man shown from both sides of the face. The monotony of the images is broken by a strange contraption — the symmetricizer itself — shown worn in the photographs and also displayed in physical form next to the images. It is a helmet with a mirror that runs adjacent to the wearer's profile. Based on theories on the beauty of perfect facial symmetry, the artist demonstrates how everyone can obtain this impossible goal without surgery. Indeed, it is said that if you were to take a photograph of just half of your face, flip it, and join the same half together, your visage would be barely recognizable. Since "Eavesdropping" is largely about how humans individually and collectively perceive their physical world, many of the works in the show deal with doubling. The striking taxidermic sculpture, "About Looking," displays two stuffed deer, welded together at the torso, and mounted on a black rock form. Written in chalk on either side of the rock is "right eye" and "left eye." Playing with the notion of double vision and cross-eyed defects, the mutant deer demonstrate how each of our eyes sees a different angle that the brain quickly transforms into a single image. Cubist artists were also fascinated with this phenomenon. Another example of doubling is the piece "Glance," in which a pair of jeans is mounted on the wall. At first glance, there appears to be nothing out of the ordinary, but a closer inspection reveals that the dungarees have two flies. Anomalies such as this cause a double take — an idea that also intrigues the artist. In the film, "Being John Malkovich," the concept of what it is like to literally be inside someone elses's head and see life through his eyes was deliciously investigated. Krumrine, too, seeks to not only empirically measure, map and record his own visceral experiences, but desperately wants to see things, quite literally, from someone else's point of view. We may never be able to crawl into another's skin, but "Eavesdropping" somehow convinces us that art is a viable way to begin
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