Photography exhibit opens.

An exhibit featuring works by Los Angeles-based photographer Steven Poster is on view at the Mainsite Contemporary Art gallery.

Published: February 20, 2011
NORMAN — Some of the large black-and-white photographs in Steven Poster's "Around the Edges" show at Mainsite Contemporary Art gallery have an edgy, marginal, even existential and gritty feel.
But there's nothing marginal about the career of the Los Angeles artist, director of photography for numerous films, and current president of the 6,000-member International Cinematographers Guild.
Chevy BeachOffering a bit of film noir, in broad daylight, is "Chevy Beach," a 1966 picture of a muscular man pushing a car, apparently to get it started, as a bikini-clad woman looks at the camera, and a second man looks at her.
Capturing the artistically revolutionary feel of the late '60s is his 1969 photo of a partly nude "Living Theater" performer interacting almost ecstatically with other ensemble and audience members.

Edward Hopper-like is the Chicago native's realistic, horizontal format photo of a weathered "Tijuana Café," seen over the dramatic fins of a parked or passing white car, in 1966. A short, squat figure nearly rises off the ground to reach and work on a "Ford Carburetor" in a 1972 picture, and a dog stands guard, statue-like, beside a "Guitar (Shaped) Pool," in a 1978 photo.

Old people talk or read the paper in the dark lobby of the "DeSoto Hotel," and a "Road Man" tempts fate by doing pushups in the middle of an empty highway in two more pictures, taken during the 1970s.
A 1989 photo of a woman pulling her baggage captures the impersonality of the "O'Hare Tunnel," while a 1970 picture gets across the bleak feeling of scattered objects and people at a "Farm Sale."

Possibly offering a drily humorous commentary on materialism is a tightly cropped picture of grinning "Piggy Backs," with kitsch flower decorations, also taken in 1989. Disturbing, with a blackly humorous undertone, are his 1993 photos of a "Hiding Doll," nearly crushed under a heavy beam, and of a bearded man on a graffiti-covered bench, holding a "Help the Ugly" sign.
Making us think, too, is his 2007 picture of a man with a cigarette in his mouth named "Nick," checking an ad, or his own reflection, in a display window. Most effective in purely artistic terms are his grainy, nearly neo impressionistic photos of a silhouetted "Horse & Barn" in 1972, and of a lonely "Spanish Boat" in 1989.

Contrasting nicely with these two images is his crisp, clear 1971 "Bicycle Dream" photograph of a carefree boy riding his bike in front of sunlit laundry on a clothes line. Running through April 2 with a midway reception planned from 6 to 10 p.m. March 11, the exhibit is recommended viewing.— John Brandenburg