Isaac Layman and Michael Lazarus
Isaac Layman has staked a place on the frontlines of digital photography with his large-scale composite images of the most mundane household items: the inside of the oven, a sink full of dirty dishes, a piece of rubber stair tread he slipped on (he once referred to himself as “an anti–National Geographic photographer”). Shooting the objects from multiple focal depths and vantage points, he compiles the many photographs into single images that are simultaneously blurred and sharp, making almost abstract magnifications of crisp domesticity. Yet whereas in the past, his cabinets and sinks have been full of items, in Funeral, a meditation on mortality and rememberance, he revisits them after removing their contents, depicting empty containers that are void of life or caskets to be filled. Several works manage to transport the viewer in their emptiness. Sink, in particular, possesses a depth in its unblemished porcelain fold that enwraps the eye in a certain peaceful solitude grounded by the drain—almost a circular infinity that holds everything and nothing. But some of the other works feel flatly hollow without the counter-textual knowledge of his previous works. Hopefully his works in the Portland Art Museum’s Northwest Contemporary Art Awards exhibition opening in September will add some depth to the emptiness.
The paintings on display in Michael Lazarus' Recent Works make use of found items such as commercial signage and lettering, repurposing these discarded canvases into works that immediately lure the viewer and complicate the dualities found in everyday life.