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Review: Gray Matters at StutzArtSpace

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3 Stars

StutzArtSpace; through May 27.

The purpose of Gray Matters is not only to explore the technical diversity of grayscale media, especially photography and drawings, but also to discuss "the parts of life that don't fall into black and white," according to gallery director Andy Chen. By limiting the palette to monochrome, the exhibition seeks to hone in on the personal significance of subject matter.

One instance of this was "Un-tidaled #2" by Adam Noel. By depicting a waterfront through sepia tiles with scratched surfaces, it evokes the nostalgia that Noel might feel towards the sea. Julia Wickes also operates through a personal lens: "Memories of My Garden: Spade" is a dark charcoal sketch, positioned upright and large, of this otherwise innocuous garden, suggesting its larger-than-life immediacy in Wickes' memory.

Another standout piece is "Original Thoughts?" an artist's book by Martha Carlson. The piece was a series of grayscale images of a brain, superimposed with bright red symbols signifying thoughts. As you turn the page, the red is reduced to sparser and simpler lines and eventually disappears entirely. "Original Thoughts?" reflected Carlson's work in health care.

It was this personal nature of Gray Matters that gives meaning and function to the requirement of working in monochrome.

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