In Perlucere, Margeaux's current show of photographic work, two separate but related series investigate methods of layering information, degrees of translucency, the effects of scale, and metaphors of absence and presence, fragility and strength.
In her exquisite Apparition series, the artist layers a printed image on paper of a model in various poses behind an image of two dark metal chairs printed on Mylar. These photographs are not large, but the formal elements juxtaposed with the cerebral ones convey a potent sense of gravitas-at once alluring and disquieting. We are being drawn into the magnetic world of time's inexhaustible seductions. We are transported away in cycles of wondrous experiences, then brought back to where we stood, forever changed.
It is as if the model represents the intangibility within everything as she delicately balances on the threshold of the known and the unknown. Her poses and the deliquescent quality of the clothing she wears-ultra-thin silk organza, for example-serve to underscore the essential fragility of all material things. And the artist is suggesting that by surrendering to the level of insubstantiality, the nature of being redefines itself, finds another source of power that combines poetry and the solidity of fact. But in Margeaux's work, even the factualness of objects takes on a veneer of mystery. Nothing is quite what it seems, appearances deceive, are both concrete and extravagantly esoteric.
In the large prints on glass of old apothecary jars, the titles have names like Cloves, Arrowroot, Coriander Seed, and Cyanide-all of them taken from the labels attached to the jars with their classic shapes and glass stoppers. Because the artist plays with size and prints her images on a huge scale, the jars feel almost human, and indeed, they have a vaguely human shape. Looking at these works, we could be in an inner sanctum of alchemical vessels telepathically discussing the fate of the world.
In all this work, it is fascinating to contemplate the exactness of Margeaux's artistic processes coupled with the specific way the jars are presented as images-not hung on the wall, but tipped against it with the bottom edges resting on steel shelves. Although the resolution of the jars is perfectly clear, they are also translucent and are further dematerialized by the shadows they cast on the wall. Image becomes object and yet threatens to disappear.
I particularly liked the work Poison. At first, the viewer doesn't really notice the white substance at the bottom of the jar because of the interplay of transparency and shadow, yet after one reads the label and finds the word POISON, there it is-chunks of a white powdery stuff. There is a quick chilling jolt as the image lends itself to another layer of consideration. And who knows, really, whether Margeaux's hauntingly beautiful apparitions are, in the end, for us or against us?
1611-A Paseo de Peralta, Santa Fe