The surreal world

Dreamworks by Corey Grayhorse at AS220
By GREG COOK  |  May 20, 2010

ART052110_Grayhorse_main 

Three styles dominate art photography these days. The most prominent is deadpan, posed, formal portraiture (and sometimes landscapes), usually shot head-on or in strict profile with the people drained of all emotion.

PHOTOS:Corey Grayhorse's pop-surreal dream photography at AS220
The second style offers intimate slice-of-life snapshot glimpses of debauched circles of friends and lovers — a la Nan Goldin. It is as involved, animated, and passionate as the deadpan stuff is detached, still, and cool.

Falling somewhere between is pop surreal dream photography. As done by a spectrum of artists from Cindy Sherman and Gregory Crewdson (at the fine art end) to Annie Leibovitz, Pierre et Gilles, and David LaChapelle (at the commercial fashion and celebrity photography end), its emotional temperature is hot like Goldin’s work, but the scenes are posed like deadpan photos, with more Hollywood flair. The costumes, sets, and stars sometimes approach Hollywood budgets, too.

Corey Grayhorse of Cranston, whose photographs are on view at AS220’s Main Gallery (115 Empire Street, Providence, through May 29), falls in the pop surreal style — at the bright, poppy, sordid LaChapelle end, though with a greater air of goth mystery and smaller production budgets. It’s a style of synthetic glitz that seems to channel our society’s plastic, superficial heart. “In my world,” Grayhorse writes on her website, “Japanese street culture collides with haute couture, and Hello Kitty courts Marie Antoinette.”

 ART052110_Norquist_main

Her photo Le Tigre is a portrait of a person wearing a shiny plastic tiger mask and a blue cabled cardigan sweater. Miss Piggy shows someone in a pig mask and a white eyelet dress with poufy sleeves. The images are a calculated, kitschy mix of seeming innocence and something uneasy that can inspire the sort of itchy feeling you get when you sense something creeping up on you.

Lavish Lush seems inspired by the sort of elaborate fashion fantasies Leibovitz shoots for Vogue. In a room set for a tea party, with cupcakes and a chilled bottle of champagne, a woman reclines lasciviously on a red sofa in an elaborate pink curly Marie Antoinette wig and a lacy satin mini-dress. The skirt is hiked up, revealing lacy tights and pink heels.

Other shots are even more narrative — though always with a crooked sense of humor. One seems to be a 1940s-ish scene of a woman in fur-collared blue coat, white miniskirt, red-and-white striped stockings, and red shoes seated on a couch gazing off into space. Her gray gloved hands hold a cigarette. A little alligator sits on the couch next to her. A little kid in a red velvet coat, fez, and boots stands next to her, like a personal valet. It’s like a scene from some cracked David Lynch noir.

Another series, shot as album art for Providence rapper Romem Rok, depicts a fellow in a white bunny mask and blue tuxedo jacket frying eggs in a kitchen with a woman in a blue floral dress, or the same pair embracing in a girly white bedroom over breakfast in bed and the newspaper sprawled across the blankets.

1  |  2  |   next >
  Topics: Museum And Gallery , Madonna (Entertainer), Entertainment, Clothing and Accessories,  More more >
| More


Most Popular
ARTICLES BY GREG COOK
Share this entry with Delicious
  •   PERFECTLY HUMAN  |  April 16, 2014
    Sometimes I think you can understand everything about our society today by considering it through two themes — the perfection of technology versus the messily human handmade.
  •   THE LAST FRONTIER  |  April 02, 2014
    They say that temperatures in the McMurdo Dry Valleys of Antarctica haven’t been above freezing in millennia.
  •   ASSURED ABSTRACTIONS  |  March 19, 2014
    “The golden age of abstraction is right now,” ARTnews informed me last spring.
  •   COMMON GROUND  |  March 12, 2014
    “I did everything in the world to keep this from happening,” exclaims the assistant to the rich man in Kerry Tribe’s There Will Be ___ _.
  •   LOCAL LUMINARIES  |  March 05, 2014
    Reenacting a childhood photo, portraits of fabulous old ladies, and dollhouse meditations on architecture are among the artworks featured in the “2014 RISCA Fellowship Exhibition.”

 See all articles by: GREG COOK