Tip of the Week:
Lou Oates
by Michael Weinstein

from: NewCity Chicago

Gifted with an insanely wicked wit, Lou Oates scans old formal photographic portraits that he finds at flea markets and garage sales into the computer and creates surrealistic scenarios depicting whom he imagines the anonymous subjects might have been. The exhibit's title, "Three Generations and You're Out," expresses Oates' judgment that once people are that long gone, he is free to play with their images as if they had no stake in the results. All his twenty-three photo-works are blistering takes on the human condition, featuring stories of gross absurdity and abject failure epitomized in titles; in "Uncle Silas Hated to Leave Home," we see a harsh stoical military officer in uniform holding his pistol across his chest and cuddling a teddy bear in the crook of his arm. Oates's vision is crystallized in "Wastebasket," in which a shower of headshots of himself at various ages fall into a trash can.

 


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