Sunday, October 6, 2013

Josephine Sacabo at A Gallery for Fine Photography

Did you ever wake up with a sense that you were leaving a magical place as you enter another ordinary day? The dream itself vanishes, but for the rest of your day you experience fleeting flashbacks to that  tantalizingly near yet elusive place. A doctor might attribute it to a digestive disturbance, but for poets such dreams have a psychic reality that can be explored with a bit of effort. For photographer Josephine Sacabo, the visions conjured by her favorite writers inspire photographs that resemble fragments of a fantastical parallel universe.

This series was inspired by author Clarice Lispector, who once asked: “And as for music, after it's played where does it go?" Sacabo's images provide no literal answers but surround us with visionary echoes like those elusive dreams that create their own realities. Lispector was that most unusual of creatures, a mystical modernist, a Ukraine-born Brazilian. Sacabo, a visual poet born into a Laredo cattle ranching family, filters Lispector's verbal paradoxes through the lens of her own richly visionary life experiences. And like the dreams they so often resemble, they range from subtle to over the top.

In the appropriately titled Waking Dream, a mannequin like a silent movie starlet in an evening dress appears surrounded by stuffed trophy animals including a tiger in a tux, and while fantastical, it clearly has "real world" parallels. In The Dress, left, a more subtle view of a girl in a lacy dress is seen from the rear as water gurgles in a nearby stone fountain. Although nothing much is happening here, this is one of those visions that could pull you through the looking glass, a sensibility rendered more explicitly in Behind the Mirror, bottom, or I am a Star, above left. But in I am a Memory of Myself, top, the lens of an old camera is the portal into a world "beyond thought" where images reflect what Sacabo calls "our true psychic reality"--the magic mirror that can enable "a deeper connection between ourselves and the world." ~D. Eric Bookhardt

Beyond Thought: Homage to Clarice Lispector: Photogravures by Josephine Sacabo, through Dec. 31, A Gallery For Fine Photography, 241 Chartres St., 568-1313. Left: Behind the Mirror.