new-york

Lewis Stein

Paula Allen Gallery

Lewis Stein’s new photographic works operate somewhere between the imagistic cancellation of Roy Lichtenstein’s mirror paintings and the horror vacuii of Allan McCollum’s surrogates. The specificity of influence would completely bog down a less focused esthetic proposition, but here, where the work intimates its own disappearance, specificity becomes a distinct advantage. Stein’s method is simple. He first selects reproductions of mirrors from mail-order catalogues. He then photographs them and blows them up to life-size, laminating each print to a thin board which has been cut to match the contours of the particular mirror. The result is a shaped photo-object with pointed Minimalist, Pop, and Conceptual art connotations. But curiously enough, a creeping shoddiness overrides the too-familiar elegance this hybridization typically yields and relies upon; the backing is left exposed, apparent

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