"Hardly More Than Ever "
November 6 – December 18, 2004
Opening reception with the artist
Saturday, November 6, from 2 – 5 PM
If one considers Venus Inferred, Laura Letinsky's first exhibition at the gallery, to represent the night before, then Hardly More Than Ever is most certainly the morning after. Our second solo exhibition of Letinsky's work is as closely linked to her earlier project as it is influenced by the Dutch-Flemish and Italian still-life paintings that it resembles. Where once we witnessed couples in the act of being in love, we now witness the symbolic aftermath of those relationships: empty tables, decomposing fruit, desiccated scraps, and discarded utensils.
The lack of people leaves a palpable emptiness and melancholy amongst the detritus. What fills this space is the richness of the still-life subjects themselves. Even those objects, over-ripe and moldering in their decay, which would in life repel us, are compelling, particularly as they are realized in Letinsky's large-scale colour photographs. The details – dirty dishes, rumpled tablecloths, a scattering of crumbs following the line of a vanished dish – take on an emotive quality that underlines the conundrum of consumption, where physical fulfillment does not always equate to emotional fulfillment. These lush momento mori constructions are reminders of both the potential bounty of pleasure, and its fleeting nature.
Born in Winnipeg in 1962, Laura Letinsky holds a B.F.A. from the University of Manitoba and an MFA from Yale University. She is an Associate Professor at the University of Chicago, where she has taught since 1994. Her photographs have been shown at institutions including the Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography, Ottawa and The Museum of Modern Art, New York. Her work is in public collections including the Art Institute of Chicago; Museum of Contemporary Art, Chicago; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Laura's work is the subject of two monographs: Hardly More Than Ever, The Renaissance Society, 2004; and Venus Inferred, University of Chicago Press, 2000. She has been the recipient of grants and awards from numerous foundations, including the Illinois Arts Council, the John Simon Guggenheim Memorial Fellowship, and the Canada Arts Council, amongst others.