New York

Roe Ethridge

Andrew Kreps Gallery

The first sign of trouble (or complexity) in Roe Ethridge's exhibition “The Bow” comes from its very title. Read the word bow and you assume a meaning (and pronunciation), despite the fact that Ethridge provides no conclusive visual or textual information to support any particular reading, and despite the fact that bow is a wildly versatile word: a verb, a noun, a gesture, part of a musical instrument, an archer's weapon, the front of a ship, a knot formed by two or more loops. Photographs are the same way, of course. We see and assume. For decades, artists have explored the visual-cognitive tic that drives viewers to create, in their minds, a fully drawn reality from fragmentary information, as well as photography's complicity in this scheme.

But pursuing this line of thought was not Ethridge's project—or not his primary one, at least. Instead, Ethridge described himself in a long gallery

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