Sometimes when skulking doggedly around unfamiliar exhibitions or navigating the architecture of galleries novel to me, my espying eye is caught and captured by a photograph from a distance and I know, in my gut, that this work is The One. But though I've been pulled by its gravity, I tend to play hard to get. I hold back, save it for last, denying myself the desired beeline directly to the object of my affection, making my way circuitously through the environment's geography and examining every other contender, avoiding the temptation of what I imagine will be the ultimate payoff. I prolong the tension not only by hoarding it away until the end, but by refusing to even give it a second's look until it's time to give this image, this gorgeous photograph, my undivided attention. When my wending passage finally deposits me at my quarry's door, I've often been surprised to learn that what my first cursory glance interpreted as a photographic reproduction has not been executed through film but through oils, and my instincts were right to divine this painting that fooled me so thoroughly as the day's Holy Grail.
Though it's rare for a canvas of brushstrokes to so faithfully duplicate that which it strives to embody, it's even more uncommon for the opposite to occur; in fact, for the very first time ever this week I sashayed up to a painting that I harbored a crush on from afar to discover it up close to be a photo in disguise. David Solow's current show, lost intentions/ovary and oculus, includes a series of lightbox mounted snaps from decaying bathhouses in which earthly flaws like peeling paint and chipping plaster transcend the material to be reborn in the eye as impressionistic smudges of color and form, drippy mergers of children's sandcastles and Gaudi's spires that vibrate with movement buried within their waiting stillness. The trappings of rot, either in organic lichen-y spots or manmade flakes of pigment, imply rebirth within their death, and confirm the end as a starting point. Clearly, it's not just the bulbs that make these dreamy works glow.
While the trip to Raleigh's Artspace to gaze upon these luminescent pieces would be well worth your effort at any time between now and the exhibition's closing on June 28, the best day to go would be Thursday, May 22; at 7 p.m., you'll get savvy insight into these shadowy planets from Mr. Solow himself, who is maybe not so shadowy but doubtless intriguing. He's studied ballet and poetry, and worked on farms and as a carpenter in addition to crafting mesmerizing visual constructions, including the glorious hypnotic bathtub that appeared in CAM's some kind of dream exhibition last year. His lecture comes to you at absolutely no charge whatsoever, and it's open to one and all, including you. Starts at 7 p.m. and if you call the nice folks at Artspace they'll be glad to tell you more, 821-2787.
Meanwhile in Carrboro, Executive Director Colin Bissett has announced the termination of his three-year association with the ArtsCenter. He'll remain on board until June 27, lending a hand in the process of finding his replacement, and in July will assume the post of directing what is described in press releases as "a major cultural center in central Florida." While we can be sure the search to locate the appropriate person to step into his soon-to-be-vacated shoes will swing far and wide, let's not forget that there may be a handful or so of able-bodied, community-aware candidates available right here in our own backyard.