Photographer David Haxton is fascinated by light. Since the late 1960s, he has been playing with its ability to define space and color. A rich group of works from the 1970s to the 2000s at Gavlak suggests that when it comes to making a photograph, light is everything.
Most of the works are abstract images of cut paper constructions and lighting fixtures. In a series of diptychs from the late 1970s, Haxton photographed the same constructions twice, each time under different light.
“(No. 49) Random Square Holes in White Over Blue and Yellow Lit From Front and Back” presents on the left, a composition of blue squares peeking through a sheet of white paper above a yellow floor; on the right, the same construction is lighted from the back, washing out the blue and turning the white a sickly brown. Light and its position make all the difference.
Haxton has also made films, but unfortunately the gallery is screening only one (on a loop) per week. I saw “Bringing Lights Forward,” which looks at first as if someone is spray-painting black dots on the white screen. However, one quickly realizes that the film is presented in negative and the dots are actually lights being turned on and off as someone gradually moves them closer to the camera. Light becomes paint, and the film’s title perfectly sums up the overall impression of Haxton’s work.
Gavlak, 1034 N. Highland Ave., (323) 467-5700, through May 23. Closed Sunday and Monday. www.gavlakgallery.com