What Will You Remember

Thanks to Elin Spring for the nice write-up on Jesus Coming Soon. Below is the text from the post on her blog, "What Will You Remember?"

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It’s 1AM and Remi Thornton is wandering the abandoned streets of an unfamiliar city.  He feels a little apprehensive, perhaps a tad more than uncomfortable.  Just like he planned it.  Often stopped by suspicious police, occasionally threatened by a rowdy gang or a stray animal, Thornton is in a state of heightened vigilance, his senses strained by the dark.  What might befall him, and when?  This swirl of unsettling emotions takes hold of the viewer, the longer one observes Thornton’s mysteriously inviting, color night photographs in his show “Jesus Coming Soon”, now at Gallery Kayafas Boston’s South End.

Working only with available light, Thornton keeps us purposely off-kilter by exposing his shots for the highlights, such as a streetlight, which throws the sky into inky, pitch darkness and isolates his abandoned landscapes in an eerie light.  In some images, color appears like an island in contrast to the surrounding blackness, as in “Green Corner”.  Other times, a structure appears like some strange UFO, as in “Purified Water”.  And everything in his frames is tack sharp, not really the way we perceive a scene.  That keeps the eye alert for possible threats in Thornton’s larger vistas like “Billboards” and ”Foggy Park”. 


Thornton’s unsettling, sometimes ironic scenes, can also possess an undisturbed beauty born of quietude, a combination of the suspension in time and a quality of light that the human eye itself cannot realize. “Highlands” and “Canadian Farm Stand” are both starkly solitary, further emphasized by their strong compositions.  Extended observation reveals subtle detail in the shadows, as in “Jesus Coming Soon”, as well as occasionally Rothko-esque, abutting ambient hues, as in “Building and Fence” and especially in “John Smith’s”.  Such are the mysteries of the night, beautiful and scary – just like life, magnified. 

Next time, I’ll talk about the companion exhibit at Gallery Kayafas, Geoff Hargadon’s “Warhol Coming Soon!”.  Among other things, it showcases gallerist Arlette Kayafas’ erudite humor.  Hargadon’s media-savvy celebration of kitch contrasts wonderfully with Thornton’s mystery-laden images.  The juxtaposition alone is worthy of a visit.  The current two exhibits run through March 1st, 2014.  For further information, go to: Gallery Kayafas