Two bodies of work on view at
In all, 18 night blossoms appear in the exhibit. These include DeCosse's
Chu's Photographic Brushstroke is a painterly explor-ation of ephemeral forms. Unlike DeCosse's work, Chu's is not straightforward photography. There's an element of spontaneity in shooting pigment in water, and he titles pieces in accord with what the mutable, dissolving forms look like. Two Dragons, for instance, depicts two spreading ink tendrils that resem-ble the serpentine bodies of dragons in Vietnamese art from the LÝ Dynasty. Other photographs are mon-tages of pigments in water and trees, formed by layering multiple exposures. One such image, Departure 4, shows a tree beneath a bloom of pigment that resembles smoke rising from the tree's branches. Chu adds color in digital processing to enhance some works and to highlight certain features of the imagery.
Verve's exhibition makes no explicit thematic connection between these bodies of work, but one is suggested by the subject matter -- the primary subjects for each photographer are temporary forms that limit the makers to a time frame for shooting. DeCosse, for instance, is limited to when flowers are in bloom, and Chu is limited to the length of time it takes for pigments to dissolve. Looking at the images together, their distinctions emerge. DeCosse's photos have a meditative, still quality, while Chu's are alive with energy and movement and, although some resemble landscapes, are mainly abstracted, dreamlike images. Chu's use of color is minimal but is still a contrast to the black-and-white prints of DeCosse.
DeCosse's work, like Chu's, has some painterly qualities. His use of painted backdrops and old photographic processes often lends his images a feeling of traditional still-life painting, but that is less prevalent in the black-and-white photographs. Chu's prints have a more contemporary feel. It is best to view the shows as solo exhibitions.
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