DEAR DAVE,

Like language, ‘photography’ is a broad undertaking that overlaps most, if not all, facets of human endeavor. But unlike other creative practices, photography exists not outside and separate from the everyday fabric, but rather is densely woven into its narrative. Contemporary life increasingly involves the seeming desire to document, observe, and celebrate the quotidian photographically—and the medium is elastic, and able to accommodate diverse contexts, agendas, and functions. (Think, at random: real estate, product packaging, pornography, forensic research, political campaigns, fashion marketing.) At times, photography may seem the glue that connects many diverse activities and motives in the social landscape.

Reed+Rader’s work is an energetic mix of references: film, drawing, cartoons, theatre, and masquerade. As vigorous are the beaded and threaded photographic collages of Paul Kopkau—giddy constellations that shuffle both myth and idyll as well as banal domestic arrangements. Abby Robinson, in voyeuristic work from the seventies, combines the isolated figure with narrative incident. The work toggles between absence and clutter, futility and significance.

Zachary Fontaine creates or modifies familiar and yet ultimately enigmatic objects that he photographs in ways that suggest a modest mail-order gadget catalogue. With an unusually reticence, he neutralizes his creative effort by the photographs’ generic and vernacular appearance. Fusing a formal language with political observation has been among the premises of Tim Davis’ work, and the passage of time and trace of its fragile beauty underlie the work here, creating a palimpsest of politial history, quickly forgotten.

Impaired is the title of work by Carrie Levy in which the nude figures are haunted, vulnerable, somewhat ashamed, naked. Chosen here are the Polaroids from that series, and as their porous surfaces receive fingerprints, swipes and scratches, their forensic and emotional immediacy is amplified.

Thanks for your kind letters. Summer is finally here, so I’m up to the farm ‘til Labor Day.

With thanks and love,
Stephen