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Wednesday, November 14, 2007

The Hospital Ceiling

posted by on November 14 at 9:37 AM

In my review of Jim O’Donnell’s beguiling A Spectral Glimpse show up now at Platform Gallery (great slide show here), I mentioned Chicago-based artist Adam Ekberg only briefly.

His two photographs in the show depict the rainbowy flare of the sun on the camera’s lens as it points toward the sky from the floor of a forest. They’re large and gorgeous, and in their hippy-dippy awestruck way they nod to a video by Ekberg I’ve only heard about and never seen, of a light show on the top of a mountain in the dark. Here’s a still:


This, in turn, reminds me of this (an illuminated tree photograph by Charles LaBelle):


(It also reminds me of an illuminated tree series by Rob Fischer, an example of which I can’t put my finger on online.)

But what I really wanted to share is Ekberg’s series of hospital ceiling photographs, which are not in the show (but are on his web site). He didn’t compose them; he took them by flopping himself down on the beds and shooting whichever way he fell.



As much as these images are all thick with death and dying, their abstraction pulls away the melodrama and leaves only the image, the last thing you might see.

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wow. that is just so incredibly DEEP.

Posted by dirty girl | November 14, 2007 10:03 AM

I remember when, on first moving into the condo in Fremont, there was a giant tree outside and how fun it was to stare up at the branches outside.

Sadly, the termites got it.

Trees are magical creatures.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 14, 2007 10:09 AM

Can't say there is anything spectacular about any of those pictures. Especially the "hospital bed" shots. Those are actually just generally boring and thoughtless.

Posted by Mr. Poe | November 14, 2007 10:11 AM


Posted by BC | November 14, 2007 10:15 AM

thanks for the reminder: I need to make a dental appointment.

Posted by J-9 | November 14, 2007 10:24 AM

jesus christ, if this is what fascinates you, I'm doomed in this fucking city. I often wondered why I get ignored by the Stranger - now I know: I haven't made utterly vapid "conceptual" art. I'll get right on it.

Posted by Steven Miller | November 14, 2007 12:16 PM

@6 - well, tell us when you do and we can get the NYT to call you an artist then.

Posted by Will in Seattle | November 14, 2007 1:34 PM

I saw this month that Ms. Graves is a contributor to The Believer as well.

If I didn't "get" her much before, I surely do now.

Posted by Wowza | November 14, 2007 4:13 PM

Hospital ceiling photographs... wow. I'll go take some pictures of my local BP parking lot and have it be illustrative of what you see right before you die after getting shot in the back or something. DEEP.

Posted by The CHZA | November 14, 2007 7:09 PM

The light-in-the-forest shot is cool, and kinda ethereal.

The tree, lit up in the foreground, so bright it almost casts a shadow on the sky: Wow. Just wow. I could stare at that photo all day. Even more than at the photo of the Mies Van der Rohe house in Slog last month. I dunno what it is about trees and weird light but it strikes at something in me.

Edward Hopper could have painted that tree.

Posted by Dr_Awesome | November 14, 2007 7:48 PM

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