Upon entering the Lockhart Gallery on Main Street, the first noticeable thing about the photography exhibit The Disaster Series is the plethora of open-mouthed figures staring directly at the viewer or off into the distance in abject terror. Not the usual display of photography, these pulp-fiction-esque images all look vaguely familiar because they are all self-portraits of the artist, Geneseo alumna Lori Barrett, also known as Enid Crow. They are part of a series of photographs depicting unseen disasters, which she took between
2002 and 2006. Whether the main subject of her photo appears to be a hairy old man, a church- going woman, or a boy scout, every single person is Barrett.
The photos are extremely interesting from an analytical point of view. Most of them have a blue or green background. These cool colors may be calm and soothing but the expressions of the people in the foreground do not match this motif at all. Every one of them is screaming, gasping or shouting in shock, but at a subject not visible in the picture. Every picture is titled with a specific subject and "Disaster" tacked onto the end, such as, "Boy Scout Disaster" or "Nightgown disaster." The photos raise questions about the nature and legitimacy of the disasters.
All the photos are taken so that the subjects aren't centered and most have odd, tilted backgrounds. This draws the viewer to the main subject in the picture, since the angles highlight the character in question. Many of Barrett's characters wear dated
costumes, outrageous wigs and glasses. For example, "Crown Heights Disaster" features a woman in a 1950s style turquoise outfit with purple framed glasses and bright red lipstick. In the background is a very modern poster, which throws off the viewer's sense of time. These dramatic effects almost make the viewer see the paintings as posters for old movies rather than self-portaits of the artist.
One of the more interesting pieces is "Pool Disaster" because it looks very commonplace. A woman in a yellow bathing suit, sits on the edge of a motel pool. Next to her is a nondescript bottle
of soda. The lines of the motel
pool and rooms around the pool are slightly tilted, and the bright yellow dramatically contrasts with the washed out greenish background. Perhaps the most interesting thing is that the woman doesn't look quite as terrified as the subjects of the other works. Instead, she appears surprised, as if she just spotted the camera taking her picture.
The "Enid Crow" exhibit is put on by the Lockhart Gallery and the Collins Alumni center. The gallery is open from noon - 5 p.m. on Monday through Friday.