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Art review: Siri Kaur at Blythe Projects

November 10, 2011 |  6:00 pm

Siri Kaur, "Jamie," from Blythe Projects
Siri Kaur’s photographs at Blythe Projects are all nouns, no verbs: barn, man, boat, goat, tree, owl. This, then this, then this. They typify the most basic of photographic precepts — point and shoot — which is not to say they are hasty snapshots. Far from it. If anything, they err on the side of preciousness, each subject a carefully set gem of private poetry. Radishes in a plastic bag on the kitchen counter. A goat alone in a leaf-strewn grove.

An image of a dead bee and broken robin’s egg on a windowsill is unusually poignant, a still-life teetering between bleakness and promise. And a portrait of a seated young man with mismatched socks emits a quiet buzz of friction, triggered by the mix of humility and elegance, warm amber and cool green.

Tenderness prevails throughout the L.A. artist’s work, but the whole doesn’t manage to exceed the sum of its parts. There is little in the way of connective tissue, as in Liza Ryan’s work, which comes to mind here and makes more effective use of sequencing and image combination to effect some synergy. Kaur’s pictures are bound simply by their stillness and interiority, and by their beautiful dusk and dawn light, which helps turn up the emotional volume in the absence of a more compelling approach.

-- Leah Ollman

Blythe Projects, 5797 Washington Blvd., Culver City, (323) 272-3642, through Dec. 17. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.blytheprojects.net

Image: Siri Kaur, "Jamie," from Blythe Projects

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