Layla Rudneva-Mackay


“Cinematic” suggests too great a distance from the everyday to characterize accurately the kinds of simple tableaux photographed by Layla Rudneva-Mackay. That her scenarios—portraits of people whose faces we cannot see, for example—are directed constructs is evident, though. Many of the large C-prints in the Auckland-based artist’s new exhibition, “Tell yourself you’re ok,” display gestures, but without showing us the people who make them. Most actors are hidden behind cloth, emphasizing something not simply conventional but still general in their poses. In this way, the images communicate an unusual sensitivity to form and its connotations. The nonverbal cues to which we might respond from the figures and their positioning suggest a level of intuition that evokes the unspoken sense of a situation.

The settings of the photographs are indefinite outdoor spaces, which the artist populates

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