Critics’ Picks

Untitled #107, 2004.

Untitled #107, 2004.

New York

Anna Gaskell

Casey Kaplan
121 West 27th Street
April 8–May 8, 2004

Anna Gaskell has always been a rescuer of girl characters, carrying them out of the clutches of a familiar children’s story and into the unpredictable narratives of her own pictures. For her fourth solo exhibition at Casey Kaplan, she runs after a story she can’t quite capture, revolving around the nighttime adventures of a group of kids. Across five six-by-seven-foot C-prints, a tale of this gang of boys and girls majestically fails to unfold. In dark clothes and a red skirt or two, they perform mysterious rituals in fake snow, bare knees touching the feathery white drifts. Under a painted moon and an impossibly black sky, they traipse toward some unseen destination, their shadowy figures glimpsed through winter branches. It’s almost as if Gaskell, who’s pushed her characters to the very limits of the frame (one image is all snow, save for a pair of hands just visible along the top edge; another shows the moon and nothing more) had forgotten to make space for the story their presence might tell. Which raises the question so many other photographers are afraid to ask: Are there endless narrative possibilities here, or none?