Erstwhile Police guitarist Andy Summers made his photographic debut with “Throb,” a series of documentary-like portraits and snapshots that combined the photojournalist immediacy of Annie Liebowitz with an attempt at a more reflective, personal statement. Summers’ latest exhibit, generically titled “Salad Days,” presents selections from “Throb,” as well as landscapes, interiors and compositional studies from the past three years.
He explores a multitude of environments and locations--Montserrat, Bali, Italy, Portugal, Los Angeles--in a broad spectrum of representational styles. Closely cropped fragments of bodies, figures with their heads turned away from the camera and sublime landscapes dissected by man-made objects create a self-conscious sense of the enigmatic or artful, as if Summers were trying to imbue people and situations with plastic significance through the dictates of composition and juxtaposition, essentially an overworked strategy exhausted by advertising rhetoric.
He is at his best with pure tonal and formal studies, injecting a stairway in Greece with an Expressionist distortion and ethereal play of light, or imbuing a hanging shirt in a room with a faint spectral quality. While the work has become distinctly more contemplative and contextual, with both a tighter grip on mood and subtler manipulation in the dark room, it is obvious that Summers is still struggling to come to grips with his medium, investigating an infinite number of visual possibilities and antecedents rather than discovering and refining his own distinctive aesthetic. The results are thus extremely uneven and virtually impossible to integrate as a coherent and individual body of work. (Fiona Whitney, 962 N. La Brea Ave., to May 10.)