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Joanne LeFrak
at Box Gallery Santa Fe, New Mexico
Recommendation by Kathryn M Davis

Continuing through October 2, 2010

The effect of the white-box gallery with Joanne LeFrak\'s scratched-Plexiglas landscapes is undeniable. Lighting in the gallery becomes, unintentionally, part of the show. What you\'re really seeing are shadows on the wall, not the actual etching upon glassy surfaces. New for the artist in this exhibition is the inclusion of audio tracks for several pieces, layering over LeFrak\'s already narrative work. The foundation for her art, however, is light, and a deep connection to the physical place of New Mexico. And though the etchings are rendered like drawings, they are quite painterly because of their presence and presentation.
Cabezón Road\'s audio track, \"UFO,\" serves to heighten meaning as a man speaks, with a pronounced New Mexican accent, of his father\'s stories about watching a UFO land and take off in the remote area in the state\'s northwestern wilderness. The spoken words read as poetry; they make the land numinous, an object of devotion and mystery. And here lies the secret to LeFrak\'s subject of the landscape as narrative: she chooses locations that are quite out of the way, not your typical tourist fare, and allows these well-worn places to tell their own stories in their own time. Perhaps my favorite, Jail, Santa Rita, depicts a crumbling adobe building with the title scratched into the lintel over the entrance. There\'s a whole world there, in each subtle line.


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