My initial take on Johnson’s work, which I saw for the first time in the 2006 DeCordova Annual, was that he was going after intimations of human presence within virtually abstract, geometric spaces — a kind of urban archæologist of the living. And though it’s true that human elements pepper his photographs — a portrait painting can be detected in one of the Eight Windows, and a fraction of a person’s leg is to be spied in one of the small windows that dot the expansive, shadowy building in Leg — I’m no longer convinced of the importance of these hints of humanity. They’re poignant, but they aren’t the point. The seductive appeal of Johnson’s photographs lies in their muted sensuality, in the palpable textures and soothing hues of his buildings’ skins.
In the back gallery at Kayafas, Gary Green shoots fields of grass — some on fire but mostly not — that extend uninterrupted to the horizon. Green keeps his focus on the foreground, on the network of individual blades, inviting us to examine the exactitude of the minutest details. His eye is keen, and his are sensibilities refined, but I’m not yet convinced of the importance of his enterprise.
‘Pat Keck and Bert Antonio’ | Genovese/Sullivan Gallery | 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston | Through June 30
‘Joe Johnson: City Pictures’ | ‘Gary Green: “Two Landscapes’ | Gallery Kayafas | 450 Harrison Avenue, Boston | Through June 23
: Museum And Gallery
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