Critics’ Picks

Edgar Leciejewski, Rough Form #09, 2014 (Everyday struggles in the downstairs department), 2014, collaged C-prints, 44 x 56".


Edgar Leciejewski

Inman Gallery
3901 Main Street
February 26–April 2, 2016

Made while Edgar Leciejewski was in residence at Fogo Island Arts in Newfoundland, Canada, the work on display in his exhibition “distant past / distant future” is cerebral in approaching sublimity. Of course, landscape is the overdetermined genre through which discussions of the sublime are usually circulated, but Leciejewski offers some novel escape hatches that don’t sacrifice topography’s potential for abstraction.

Most of the pieces here are from a single series called “Rough Form,” 2014, in which black-and-white, matte photographs are concentrically collaged on top of glossy color photographs. Photocollage is nothing new, and artists who have historically made such work have tended to stress that photographs are not so much taken as made. Still, in Leciejewski’s hands, the effect is dizzying, especially when lichen-covered rocks in the color photographs sometimes dip into the black and white, confusing the boundaries between the constituent prints. Rough Form #09, 2014 (Everyday struggles in the downstairs department), for example, reorients the colored landscape of an underlying print a full 180 degrees, while the black-and-white print on top retains its original orientation. Place and formal photographic choices fold in on each other; the sky running along the bottom edge is thrown off its chromatic axis and appears silvery due to its proximity to the black-and-white image, instead of the bright blue that, in fact, it is.

Horizon two lines, 2015, and A Scene in a Library, 2013–15, provide the only deviations from the series. In the former, color photographs of sun-dimmed horizons—each housed in an impossibly perfect custom frame—are tipped on their sides so as to appear as digital color gradients, until one notices a lone contrail, its shape easily mistaken for a terrible tear in the photograph. In a sense, perhaps it is.