los-angeles

Jim Morris

Jan Kessner Gallery

Twenty small photographs and paintings—some of clouds and some of an old California mission—presented in identical tasteful walnut frames, resurrect a conversation between painting and photography that in any sense but a historical one is decidedly tired. To point out that photography is no less a dispassionate register of objective truth than painting, hardly constitutes a revelation at this juncture.

Jim Morris’ photographs of the mission are astonishingly beautiful. Some of them boast painterly effects that result from layering several negatives on top of each other; corrosive streaks, stormy atmospheres, and unspecified abstract patterns cover the front of the broken-down mission and fill in the backgrounds. At first glance, these works could be mistaken for old found prints. Pictures of crumbling facades, church bells, and religious crosses are genuinely haunting, yet, while on the

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