Hopeless Reassurance in Vt!
“Upon entering Studio Place Arts, viewers can't help but be lured straight to the giant cube toward the back of the gallery. Rather excessively titled, "Outside the Box: Attitude—Hopeless Reassurance," by Matthew J Peake and David Lee Black features six large archival pigment prints, one on each of the cube's sides. A pyramidal base holds the cube aslant; every plane of the work is framed in aluminum rails. The construction is a study in geometry and balance, but it's the photos' intriguing human content that captures the imagination.
The artist's sleight of hand is so remarkable that the viewer is delighted to be "tricked."
The images are all of the same couple — a white man with his outstretched arms placed on the shoulders of a Black woman. He looks directly at her face; she looks down. Both of them are dressed in a white shirt and black pants. The backdrop is bright blue, a sterile setting that seems to glare at the psychological ambiguity here.
Peake, a former physician turned full-time artist, "plays" with the viewer's perception in two ways: Each photo shows the same couple from a different physical perspective, including overhead and underneath; and the pair's facial expressions and body language suggest a number of possible interactions, all influenced by parameters of gender and race. The piece is something of a triumphant cipher.”
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