Patrick Nagatani: Chromatherapy
Sept 10th - Dec 16th, 2016 | Griffin Foundation Gallery
The fifty-plus photographs in Patrick Nagatani’s Chromatherapy Project (1978 - ongoing) are all staged – fictions played out with actors, sets, and props – the stuff of theatre and cinema. Michele Penhall, in her exhaustive study of the artist’s work, notes that the series confounds. There is no logical narrative, no repeating cast of characters, nor a unifying setting. Subjects range from single figures to large ensembles, as well as to species from the animal and vegetable worlds. Similarly the photographs fail to elicit a single emotive response. The images can be funny, dizzying, beautiful. Viewers report being enthralled, confused, queasy.
Any easy or encompassing analysis of the work is denied. Nagatani treads on an ambiguous tightrope, blurring boundaries between fiction and fact, and questioning the decisive dichotomy that western thought brings to these binaries.