Sunday, January 27, 2013

Tina Freeman & Martyn Lucas at Homespace; Judy Natal at the Front

It is said that if all of the ice in Antarctica were to melt, the sea level would rise 200 feet. Fortunately, we're nowhere near there yet, but as a landscape it constantly changes as its icy expanses grow, melt and recede in a shape-shifting geographical ballet, so no two visits to the same spot are ever alike. Photographers Tina Freeman and Martyn Lucas brought back their own unique views of its dramatic  contours. Both are exercises in romantic minimalism, but Freeman's images are more contemplative. An untitled seascape, above, features a rather cosmic looking iceberg with a stark vertical crevasse, a clean cut as if from the axe of Thor, radiating eerie blue light from the sky behind it. Others are more subtle yet still defined by the power of the vast space and light that pervade them. Printed on a form of mulberry paper that the Japanese have made for millennia, their aura is eloquently meditative. The work of Martyn Lucas, left and below, recalls the more overtly dramatic tradition of Ansel Adams, and it is all very well done. Here an iceberg like a craggy glacial fortress arising from a frigid green sea rivals Cecil B. DeMille's production values, but even his more prosaic scenes of abandoned boats and snowy mountain ranges resonate an almost narrative sense of adventure no less than a Jack London tale.

Judy Natal's  Future Perfect photographs evoke an ecological science fiction story set in the near future based on the dystopian aspects of the present.  Here figures in Hazmat suits probe the ruins of Biosphere 2, new looking cars are unearthed like archaeological artifacts, and man made objects mimic the natural landscapes that surround them. As science and technology probe the natural world, nature increasingly probes back, testing our ability to adapt to the chaos we inadvertently created. Future Perfect gives us a lot to think about. ~D. Eric Bookhardt

Antarctica, The Last Continent: Photographs by Tina Freeman and Martyn Lucas,  Saturday & Sunday Through Feb. 3 Homespace Gallery, 1128 St. Roch Ave., 917-584-9867; Future Perfect: Photographs by Judy Natal, Saturday & Sunday Through Feb. 3, The Front, 4100 St. Claude Ave., 920-3980;