Seven other photo-based artists are collected in "Strangers;" many of them with series of theatrical narrative content. Thomas Birtwhistle's huge cinematic pigment prints are vividly captivating, making use of one of the most awkward and intimate public photo ops: the people in adjacent cars at stop lights. Sharon Arnold's "Lost Highway" series is visually stimulating — rich, corroded photos of the figures of women turned away from the viewer to face vivid, naturalistic settings — but the aesthetic reads a little trite, as if pulled from the current trend of book jackets on pop fiction novels. And though his scenes can get a little stagey for my tastes, narrative photographer Ben Dehaan's glossy giclée series pulls off an imaginative fantasy story of a domestic relationship, rich in metaphor and alive with action.

Approach it from two distinct angles — as "Strangers and Others" does assiduously — and the human form still manages to mystify us. And through its tasteful curation and collaboration, this diverse show of figurative works rewards our interest in one of art's most classic subjects.

"Strangers and Others," group photography & sculpture exhibit | through Aug 18 | Pace Galleries of Art, Fryeburg Academy, 18 Bradley St, Fryeburg | 207.935.9232 | | reception June 16 1-3 pm

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