ARTSY: The Great Beyond

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You might not know it from the recent media focus, but there are photographers living and working in South Philadelphia not named Zoe Strauss. One of them is Ted Adams, who just unveiled an overview of his work stretching back to the 80s at the Robin Rice Gallery in the West Village. The small exhibit is an overview of Adam’s photography, some pieces dating back to the 90s. These’s nothing digital in this exhibit. Adams shoots with a vintage Leica and Kodak Tri-X film. He also processes his own film and prints in the darkroom at his house. In fact, Adam’s style can’t be achieved with digital cameras or Photoshop algorithms. He prefers what he calls “primitive analog functionality.” The photos are small, just 4 x 6 inches, and are presented uniformly within thick black frames that threaten to overwhelm them. His style is simple and focused, almost minimal. Each photo shows just one or two things that draw the eye, and the juxtapositions reveal just how thin the line is between the whimsical and the metaphysical: A bowler hat sits on a miniature model of the Eiffel Tower;  a picture of Gregory Peck from a Hitchcock film is glued to a bent, hand-painted mailbox; a dog sitting restfully amid a field of black boots lined like headstones; an urban wall with two public phones below of mural of a young woman in a bikini surfing a wave; a plain industrial building with no sign of life except for a large bright sign of the word Beyond. Ted Adams’ pictures capture those in-between moments when, for a split second, The Great Beyond can be glimpsed lurking just below the surface of everyday moments and ordinary things.  — MIKE WALSH

TED ADAMS’ WORK IS CURRENTLY ON DISPLAY AT THE ROBIN RICE GALLERY IN NEW YORK THRU FEB. 26

PREVIOUSLY: Q&A With Ted “E.C.” Adams

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