NEW YORK REVIEWS
Larry Silver, Woman
with Straw Hat,
gelatin silver print,
16" x 20".
The leather woman in a white fringed bikini-with hands poised rather Carmen Miranda-esque on hip and hat-could have been lifted from a raucous Garry Winogrand photograph. But here she is framed inside the spare geometry of a beach cabana with a stark tonal c contrast reminiscent of Ansel Adams. In this 1985 picture taken in Westport, Connecticut, Larry Silver synthesized the spark of street photography with the compositional perfectionism of the great modern practitioners.
The best pictures in this unabashedly beautiful show of 32 black-and-white images, all taken in the 30 years since the Bronx-born photographer traded city for suburb, strike the blend of vitality and elegance. Silver becomes obsessed with photography as a teenager in the early 1950s and soaked up technique from photographers such as Eugene Smith and Weegee, who frequented the Peerless Camera Store (located conveniently near Silver's high school). In 1973 he moved to Connecticut and began using the architectural framework of tennis courts, beaches, and parking lots. Silver has created a vision of the suburbs that is anything but mundane.
|In a picture taken last year, the strong graphic play
of white lines demarking parking spaces in an empty lot is interrupted by the sharp shadow of a shipping cart,
creating a sense of gravitas befitting a Caravaggio painting. Four adjacent tennis courts shot on a misty morning
in 1979 dissolve into pale vapor in the distance, with the diagonals of the fences, nets, and court lines zooming
into the vanishing point. In a 1975 image of a swing set on a beach-a black linear structure against a blanched
horizon-a little boy stands on a swing at one end, facing the limitless vista. It is a solitary scene, full of
-Hilarie M. Sheets