Kingston, R.I.

Robert Cumming

University of Rhode Island

The imagery of Robert Cumming’s photographs is wit, but his true subject matter is perception; Cumming has defined a special space, within which he creates his imagery. It is the area between the extant world and our perceptions of it, between being and seeing that most interests this young California artist.

By building objects, creating situations or constructing illusions and then taking photographs of the results, he exerts total control over the world he presents to his audience. Cumming depends on habitual clues, typical references and almost universal sets of standards for photographic viewing (at least in our own culture) to make his situations work. In one black and white set of two photographs, he shows us a block of wood and a nail driven into it. Although both photographs appear to show the same object at medium and close range, one is labeled an “enlargement” of the other. In

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