New York

Sally Mann

Edwynn Houk Gallery | New York

Naked Jessie dazzles as a rapt Shiva crouched in a brook; the coiled braids on the back of her head in Vinland, 1992, are as freighted with significance as a moody blur of trees in the distance. In At Warm Springs, 1991, Virginia immerses herself in water and pretends to be a severed head, her fine hair snaking out around a tiny face that barely clears the surface and seems to float in a medallion of light. She resembles a gorgon, but her eyes are closed—her gaze is directed inward, rendering her an interior presence, a benign, canny spirit, rather than a harbinger of destruction. This symbolic blindness, which here signals the elusiveness of childhood experience, also figures in a number of other works: in One Big Snake, 1991, Emmett stretches a long snakeskin in front of his eyes; Eyeless in Col Alto, 1993, depicts Virginia with wildflowers in her hair and a beam of bright light obscuring

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