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‘Two for Tea’ at Gallery X

While studying in Prague for six weeks, SAIC students Ryan McMurran and Shira Soskel took more than 500 photos. The exhibition Two For Tea, at SAIC’s student union Gallery X, displays these images in the forms of collage and animation.

The result is a fascinating display of diverse images. The works had a Where’s Waldo? effect—you could spend hours spotting new things in them.

Their piece Routine Leisure Pursuit consists of various cut–and–paste photo-graphic images within a setting that quickly became fictionalized and fantastic. More mundane images are also presented, such as a man walking with his head lowered and children playing. Then there are the absurdities: boxed Chinese food in the foreground, with camels in the background; a gigantic tree lying on its side in the middle of the road.

The large prints are hand–colored, further emphasizing a surreal ambiance. Only one work was compiled entirely in Photoshop, and this one is a conglomeration of all prints displayed, layered on top of each other to create a busy, overwhelming collage. The show displays three of these conglomerations, and it’s fascinating to see the images fit together into a kind of puzzle, layering and interweaving images, memory and texture in a visual riddle.

Two for Tea, Gallery X, Columbus Building,
#113, 280 S. Columbus Dr., Chicago,
October 16 to November 2, 2007.

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