Critics’ Picks

Untitled (May 7, 2001). Installation view.

Untitled (May 7, 2001). Installation view.

New York

Moyra Davey

American Fine Arts
530 West 22nd Street
December 13, 2003–January 10, 2004

All the photographs here were taken in and around Moyra Davey's six different living and work spaces over the last ten years. The most remarkable ones record the unexpected and usually unobserved ways in which we inhabit our environments: dust (80 percent of which is human skin) sunlit under a bed, long brown hairs stuck to the side of a bathtub. In photographs of shiny stereo parts stacked on shelves, flies fixed on amber-colored fly paper, and small rectangles of heavy pastel lint on unidentifiable surfaces, Davey riffs on the mystery in banality. In addition to fourteen larger photographs, she presents an arrangement of dozens of smaller prints and, in the back room, a grid of images of empty liquor bottles. The overall effect is haunting. There's a strong sense of the literary here; like Sophie Calle’s accumulations, the works hint at a narrative. Articulated only in a series of instants, it's a story we can't fully know but whose particulars we recognize and know intimately.