new-york

Michael Huey, China Cupboard (no.39), 2010, color photograph mounted on aluminum, 15 3/4 x 21".

Michael Huey

Newman Popiashvili

Michael Huey, China Cupboard (no.39), 2010, color photograph mounted on aluminum, 15 3/4 x 21".

Michael Huey’s “China Cupboards,” 2005–, is a series of medium-size photographs that portray shelves and cupboards stocked with china, glassware, serving dishes, trinkets, and other items whose purposes are not entirely clear. (One gropes for their obscure names: salvers, epergnes, tankards?) These depictions are not straightforward, however; they have been printed in the negative, reversing their colors. So blues become orange—of which there are frequent dense patches, suggesting a collection of delftware—and the whites come up in shades of the gray scale. The shadows around each object bloom into a nimbus, and many things seem to glow from within, like jellyfish under black lights.

This could all easily descend into pure aesthetic exercise, but it does not. Although there are elements that suggest serenity—the still life, the elegant domestic scene, the luminous

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