New York

Michael Spano

Laurence Miller Gallery

In work shown last year, Michael Spano seemed to be following closely in the Surrealist tradition. He applied the technique of solarization, in which some parts of the image are flipped back into negative tones, to traditional Surrealist subjects: the female nude and (in a series of pictures of his wife) woman-as-romantic-mystery. Here, though, he tilted the equation by using nondescript photographs of more or less ordinary street scenes as the basis for his solarizations.

Portrait of a Man, 1986, for example, shows a bareheaded old man on the street; the background is thrown out of focus and the tones of his coat have been reversed by solarization, leaving only his head clearly readable. In The Book, 1986, a man wearing a walkman is confronted by a woman in a headscarf, apparently an Iranian soliciting signatures for a petition. The scenes depicted in these photographs are familiar ones,

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