Advertisement
Entertainment & Arts

Review: Chuck Kelton’s lush landscapes, crafted in the darkroom

Chuck Kelton’s chemograms
Detail from “Picture of a World #11" by Chuck Kelton at Von Lintel Gallery. The artwork can be seen full frame below.
(Chuck Kelton / Von Lintel Gallery)

Chuck Kelton uses photosensitive papers and darkroom chemicals (fresh and expired) to make gorgeous images that, without cameras or lenses, satisfy photography's visceral claims on representing the real. At the same time, they tap into the evocative power of other media — graphite and charcoal drawings, pastels, watercolors, stain paintings.

"A View, Not From a Window #95" by Chuck Kelton at Von Lintel Gallery. (Chuck Kelton / Von Lintel Gallery)

The dozen lush works at Von Lintel conjure landscapes of sorts, with relatively stable ground beneath a horizon and a more tempestuous atmospheric event above. Veiny corpuscles pulse in one sky; a field of flame ripples across another. Shadowy whirls and vaporous streaks create a sense of deep, active space. One picture invokes an apocalyptic sunset, one a wave of lyrically sensuous dunes.

The New Jersey-based Kelton, a longtime master printer for notable photographers, folds most of these sheets just below their midpoint, yielding a crack of white that reads as a luminous, distant horizon. There are passages above and beneath the fold that bleed and drift, inky opaque planes and striated grays, winds of dusty ash and sedimentary layers of warm, mineral browns.

Like Alison Rossiter's engrossing work using expired photographic papers, Kelton's is a dance of chance and control, gesture and accident. Landscape imagery always registers internal as much as external phenomena, and Kelton makes sure that we know he is not just transcribing nature by titling most of the images "A View, Not From a Window." These expansive vistas originate in the darkrooms of the studio and the self.


Von Lintel Gallery, 2685 S. La Cienega Blvd., Los Angeles. Through June 18. Closed Sundays and Mondays.  (310) 559-5700, www.vonlintel.com


MORE FROM ARTS & CULTURE

Energy and emotion in Rachelle Sawatsky's strong show at China Art Objects

Photography, ceramics meld into 'Doublemix' at De Soto

Art gallery or parking lot? John Knight's installation at REDCAT makes you think about the difference

Follow The Times arts team @culturemonster.


Newsletter
Get our daily Entertainment newsletter
Advertisement