Continuing through January 10, 2016
An exemplary craftsman, Laszlo Layton not only photographs museum wildlife specimens using a large-format camera, he also prints his work using the finicky cyanotype method and then hand-paints the prints to achieve the desired delicacy and range of color. The result is an enchanting set of animal portraits — mostly winged creatures for this particular show — that recall 18th- and 19th-century natural history illustrations without being overly concerned about scientific accuracy.
Two of the larger prints in the show command particular attention: In “Blue Morpho Butterfly,” one wing is bright blue and the other fades into the background as the creature clings to a vine. In “Emu Egg,” the oval specimen is blown up in size, the better to reveal its crackly texture and blue-green allure. Still other prints lean toward anthropomorphism, beckoning us to see the pride of a brilliantly blue pinyon jay with a red berry in its beak, or the tenderness of a kiwi hovering over an egg. If it’s possible to be a 21st-century Pictorialist, Layton fits the description, using nostalgic processes to remind us of nature’s fragility and beauty.