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Tom Humphreys, A4 Coffin, 2012, pastel, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, aluminum, wood, glass, 48 1/2 × 34 1/2 × 3".

Tom Humphreys

High Art

Tom Humphreys, A4 Coffin, 2012, pastel, charcoal, and acrylic on paper, aluminum, wood, glass, 48 1/2 × 34 1/2 × 3".

At first glance, the six ceramic tile grids in Tom Humphreys’s exhibition “Tours”—all Untitled, 2014—looked like a return to the sort of 1980s postmodernism that superimposed contradictory styles. Each industrially produced tile was fired twice: first with an earthenware ceramic glaze, at roughly 1,100 degrees Fahrenheit, and again at about 900 degrees, after a ceramic photographic transfer. The initial coat of glaze was applied either with hands or a cloth, sometimes liberally, resulting in complex imperfections such as minute spatters of black metallic globules. Before the second firing, Humphreys layered nearly life-size digital photographs of people on the street, piece by piece, across multiple tiles. They are cropped to silhouette their subjects’ bodies; only in one example is any background, a parking lot, visible. In a literal reversal of Philip-Lorca diCorcia’s

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