Created in his father’s bathing suit factory in Lincoln Heights, Anthony Lepore’s photographs at Francois Ghebaly Gallery examine workplace conditions, and more surprisingly, the formal qualities of slippery, shimmery spandex.
The center of the larger gallery is filled with two rows of well-worn industrial sewing machines, punctuated with spools of bright thread and personal tchotchkes: a portrait of Pope John Paul II, a Chinese calendar, a cutesy pin cushion shaped like a hat.
Most striking however is the furniture that’s not there. Each worker’s chair is represented by a stark photograph. Wrapped or covered with sad bits of fabric or padding scavenged from the factory floor, the chairs are testaments to poor working conditions, but they are also self-portraits, created out of necessity or whimsy.
Yet the show is more than an exposé. Lepore has photographed skeins of spandex, cut, gathered or punctured by straps or hands.
In “Window Treatment,” hot pink fabric is cut and draped to form faux “windows” within the fluorescent-lighted factory. “The Fitting” is more of a performance: hands emerge from a scrim of dark orange fabric, seizing and pulling on brightly colored straps crisscrossing the surface.
Throughout is the implied presence, not only of the female bodies that make the bikinis but those who wear them. With his more playful, abstract gestures, Lepore locates a different kind of poetry in the spandex.
Francois Ghebaly Gallery, 2245 E. Washington Blvd., (323) 282-5187, through June 6. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.ghebaly.com