Even now, when the strangest of bedfellows aren't so strange anymore, the materials brought together in "Doublemix" at De Soto Gallery in Venice induce a shudder of surprise.
Photographer Denis Darzacq and ceramic artist Anna Lüneman have collaborated on a series in which sculptural fragments in clay are embedded into the surface of photographic prints.
Conceptually, the combination sets off sparks, a fruitful friction between the primal medium and the digital, between tactile and immaterial, enduring and fleeting. Visually, though, the results are mixed. The best works don't baffle but beguile; they stage a dialogue between the two-dimensional images by the Parisian photographer and the three-dimensional forms by the French sculptor based in Belgium. In one wonderfully odd piece, the right side of a statue of a standing figure morphs into an unwieldy clay prosthesis, a doodle that oozes down beside and beneath the statue's base, to end in a glossy gray knob.
In a few pieces, small pinch pots are recessed, like divots, into the printed surface. A dog appears to be chasing one above its head. Another is set into the side of a house, the interruption in visual logic suggesting a more dire interruption in domestic stability.
The real lingering question here is not whether photography and ceramics make a viable pair, but whether unremarkable efforts in any media, when joined, can add up to more than the sum of their parts.
De Soto Gallery, 1350 Abbot Kinney Blvd., Venice. Through July 23. Closed Mondays throughs Wednesday. (323) 253-2255, www.desotogallery.com