Critics’ Picks

Peggy Levison Nolan, Untitled (Avis), 2011, C-print, 8 x 10”.

Peggy Levison Nolan, Untitled (Avis), 2011, C-print, 8 x 10”.


Peggy Levison Nolan

Dina Mitrani Gallery
2620 NW 2nd Avenue
September 12–October 25, 2013

For this exhibition, Miami-based photographer Peggy Levison Nolan has included over eighty of her small-scale color photographs taken between 2001 and the present day. Framed and hung side by side, they wrap around the gallery walls in a continuous, almost film-like strip, though without any obvious starting point or end. In this way, the “tales in the ground glass” invoked in the exhibition title refer to moments in Nolan’s life that she has captured on camera as much as they do the metaphorical diffusion or dissolution of a linear or singular storyline—much like the manner in which ground glass bends light.

A self-professed “badass grandma,” Nolan features her four grandchildren in this new body of work. A particularly striking print is Untitled (Avis), 2011, which might at first seem to point to the car rental company’s sign as its focus. However, on further inspection, tucked in the upper register of the photograph is a smiling young girl who has managed to climb all the way up a perilously long pole. The theme of precarious innocence can be found in varying degrees in other prints as well, underscored by the installation of these familial tokens in relative proximity to an image of a man sleeping in a park.

The artist also focuses on the seemingly mundane and pedestrian in her images, which, for example, depict a tissue sticking out from two chair cushions (Untitled [Kleenex], 2013), light bulbs sitting in a fruit bowl (Untitled [Bulbs], 2013), and even a laundry basket filled with sheets (Untitled [Laundry], 2012). These crisp works straddle the fine line between the ordinary and extraordinary in much the same way the others on view straddle innocence and its loss.