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Preview: Caleb Cole

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In this month's journal, we have two photographers, an exhibition of abstract photography, and an artist from Memphis who uses video. It's funny how though we don't plan out each journal to have specific themes that somehow they appear to have one.

Kris Wilton recorded an interview with Caleb Cole, an artist who was trained as a photographer. His recent works, which happens to be at Gallery Kayafas currently, are not traditional photographs. Cole's Odd Man Out is a series of manipulated images where all but one person from a group are blanked out, the others appearing as white traces against the background. The lone subjects look out at us, they all seem to have a story and want our attention. Cole is also showing the aptly named Dolls, a series of dolls that have been altered to look like him.

These seemingly dissimilar bodies of work are united both by the formal process of alterations, but also by the idea of recognition. You can identify Cole's person in his altered dolls and something of the doll in him. You can see that these people standing alone in their photographs seem to be different, even if we don't know how they are different, as the others, with whom we could compare these individuals, have been erased. There is something about these people; these individuals look either sheepish or somehow uncomfortable. They reject the idea that everyone has to smile for the camera and project different concerns into the lens.

Both bodies of work beg the viewer to read them, to decipher the inner meanings of the person on display. The scrutiny that Cole requests of his viewer take on various inquiries, including psychological and social. There are numerous ways to read these works, but listening to Cole's conversation with Wilton opens up his work, moving the conversation closer to the essence of his work, certainly more than these limited words do.

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