A photograph is a photograph is a painting

A photographer and master printer collaborate

EAST HARRIET — We all know what Gertrude Stein said about a rose — that it is, is, is a rose — but what would she say about the photographs hanging in Weinstein Gallery?

Cy DeCosse’s photographs of flowers have the brush-on-canvas look of paintings thanks to the gum dichromate printing process, a labor-intensive technique with roots in the very earliest days of photography. Produced in collaboration with master printer Keith Taylor, the final images seem to combine the camera’s exacting eye with the painter’s expressive hand.

Which isn’t to say the subjects aren’t expressive enough to begin with, like the blue lotus of the Nile, actually a species of water lily, with its blade-like petals that transition from ivory to pale purple at the tips. Or a blazing orange poppy, the dark patches on its inner petals as black as sunspots.

At their best, DeCosse’s elegant compositions capture light filtered through translucent petals and the subtle interaction of light and shadow on curling leaves.

The gum dichromate printing process lends the images a pleasing, tactile graininess. This is partly due to the thick paper required to withstand multiple immersions in water during printing.

The final images are a combination of yellow, red and blue layers printed in succession using watercolor pigments. Colors look as if they were applied by hand, as with the blues and greens that swirl around each other behind a pair of white narcissus.

DeCosse is at times in danger of wandering into greeting card territory — especially with a gauzy photograph of pink roses — but perhaps that’s to be expected with such a popular subject. This is art at its most accessible, a crowd-pleasing bouquet of photographs.

That might be part of the show’s appeal: the process may be arcane and highly technical, but the results seem effortless.


Go see it
“Cy DeCosse: Fifteen Flowers” runs through May 14 at Weinstein Gallery, 908 W. 46th St. 822-1722. weinstein-gallery.com

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Remixing the MIA

WHITTIER — The Minneapolis Institute of Arts is a generous museum, one that rewards return visits with treasures in every nook and cranny — not to mention free admission.

Here’s a tip for your next visit: Let Art ReMix be your guide to the MIA.

Launched in April as a part of the MIA’s new contemporary art initiative, Art ReMix is an ongoing initiative to seed the galleries with modern art. If the rooms of Asian artifacts or the galleries of Renaissance art are starting to look a little too familiar, Art ReMix is just what’s needed to gain a fresh perspective.

JoAnn Verburg’s moody photographs of gnarled olive trees on a mist-draped Italian hillside are a pleasure to see in any setting. Hung in a room of Asian artifacts, the series of large-scale photographs take on a remarkable similarity to Japanese decorative screens, and the pale greens, grays and browns of the scene rhyme with the Korean ceramics displayed nearby.

Photographer Alec Soth’s portrait of a Memphis, Tenn., prostitute finds a new home among the Impressionist paintings on the museum’s third floor. Soth’s subject stares into the camera dispassionately as she reclines in bed in a dingy hotel room.

That portrait converses with Gustave Caillebotte’s “Nude on a Couch,” hanging nearby, a study of the artist’s future mistress that is still surprisingly frank 130 years after it was painted.

There’s plenty more left to discover scattered throughout the museum. Pick up the Art ReMix map when you visit the museum or check out www2.artsmia.org/blogs/art-remix/.


Go see it

“Art ReMix” is ongoing at the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, 2400 Stevens Ave. S. 870-3000. artsmia.org

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And the winner is …

THE WEDGE — Submissions to the first Women Stand Up and Shoot comedy film festival still were arriving in Dana Buchwald’s mailbox in mid-April.

Buchwald, founder of “Women Stand Up! A Comedy Cabaret” at Bryant-Lake Bowl, launched the contest earlier this year to encourage funny women to get behind the camera. Or in front of it: submitted films were required to have a female writer or director and feature a female lead or leads.

They also had to be funny, of course, and 10 minutes or less. Speaking a few days before an extended deadline, Buchwald reported about 30 submissions, a list that will be whittled down to the 10 best for a screening of finalists at Bryant-Lake Bowl.

Judges Lizz Winstead, Mary Jo Pehl and Jackie Kashian will select a winner from among the finalists.

Buchwald said the contest, sponsored by St. Paul-based IFP Minnesota Center for Media Arts, got some exposure on a few national comedy blogs, which brought in some submissions from outside Minnesota. All in all, not bad for a first attempt.


Go see it

Finalists in “Women Stand Up and Shoot: A Comedic Film Competition” will screen 10 p.m. May 8 at Bryant-Lake Bowl, 810 W. Lake St. Tickets are $12–$15 (pay what you can), or $10 with a Minnesota Fringe Festival button. 825-8949. bryantlakebowl.com