Thursday, June 22, 2006

Carnival Tells a Story

Byline: Alice Winn

At Digging Pitt Gallery, curator David Grim's tales of carnival illuminate a seductive underworld of desire. Images conjure up a chaotic place where the pursuit of fun and cheap glamour becomes the aim of life, where futility is felt within the circling motion of Ferris wheel and merry-go-round. Grim's own color photographs, close shots of fairground attractions, approximate views into the glistening viscera of this shadowy realm. His carousel imagery takes viewers inside the insanely whirling machine, beneath the metallic hoofs of hideously grinning, prancing dummy horses. In Florence Barry's painting "Norweigan Day at Kennywood", a rollercoaster-full of Edvard Munch's screamers turns that magic isle into an island of lost souls. Richard Schnap's collage "Surveillance" features a perverse, authoritative clown peering in at viewers through Venetain blinds, part nebbish, part noir-nastyboy. Victoria Cessna's painted contortionist, struck by a sickly light suffusing a narrow frame, is a fragile figure, simultaneously trapped and transcendent, evocative of the transient thrills that beckon from within the secret confines of carnival.

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