Art review: Dylan Vitone at DNJ Gallery
Dylan Vitone makes wide-format panoramic collages that must be scanned, usually horizontally but in one instance vertically, rather than seen head-on as a single picture. Just over a foot high and as much as 7 feet wide, the color ink-jet photographs are visually consumed in bits and pieces. They invite participation in a perceptually heightened dance between seeing and being seen.
For his second show at DNJ Gallery, the Pittsburgh-based artist focuses mostly on skin. Shot in Miami in 2009, his subjects include female bikini models, a men's body building contest, performers at a porn convention, an advertising fashion shoot and kids jumping off a pier into the ocean (the vertical panorama, emphasizing their free-fall). The quality is documentary, and a good deal of the pictorial liveliness comes from the friction between some subjects who knowingly pose for the camera (and for each other) and others who are caught off-guard.
Many of the panoramas include people who are themselves armed with cameras and taking pictures at the event. That turns the scene into a delirious roundelay of voyeurism and display, self-conscious and otherwise. Even the pleasure of kids jumping off the pier partly comes from their apparent desire to show off.
Vitone assembles multiple shots to achieve the panoramic scope. Wisely, he doesn't attempt to make the joints between photographs seamless. The result is a visual stutter, which seems crucial. Physical perfection, or some conception of it, is sought at these multifarious events, and Vitone's camera technique interrupts the flow.
One result is a feeling of temporal fragility — of time's passage and the camera's deceits. A pageantry of beauty and fun becomes unexpectedly poignant.
DNJ Gallery, 154 1/2 N. La Brea Ave., (323) 931-1311, through Nov. 5. Closed Sundays and Mondays. www.dnjgallery.com
Photo: Dylan Vitone, "Miami Project: Body Builders," 2009 (detail and full panorama); Credit: DNJ Gallery
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