Saturday, September 5, 2009

9/5/09 Risa Morales - Libby Rowe's "Dwellings"

The UTSA satellite space hosted the works of two artists this First Friday, one of whom is a photographer by the name of Libby Rowe. Her website can be found at , images for this show found under Gallery > Dwellings. The series addresses the idea of dwellings, and the subtle connotations that can be found within the meaning of the word. Each image is well taken, with choices of depth of field and subject matter obviously chosen with care and specificity. The show at the UTSA gallery did not show quite the refinement of presentation that I was expecting, some of the mats were cut a little curved and the Plexiglas had smudges and marks on it, things that I believe did not have anything to do with the subject matter at hand and detracted from the images themselves. 

Presentation aside, I found the concept and execution of the show to be creative, well thought out, and whimsical. Each image in the series addresses a singular interpretation of the idea of a dwelling, and explores that idea down to small, hardly noticeable details. Many of the images address plays on words, such as "Homeland Security" which shows a chain link fence, filled with green privacy slats. These slats have been cut away/removed, and the negative space makes the shape of a house, through which a white and tan spotted dog can be seen sitting at alert attention. The imagery is quite clear and makes a point without going so far as to effectively be a 2-by-4 to the head, or even really being preachy. It is up to the viewer to notice the little details and draw the correlations in the images. If one remains a casual observer, one will only notice the obvious surface observations made in the images, and will entirely miss the finer details and messages hiding within. All in all, I found it a strong show, with the only real weak points being the already mentioned ones of presentation.

(As a note: Libby informed me that the images on display in her show were not the originals but were rather hastily made reprints for the UTSA Satellite show. I am very interested in seeing what the originals are like, as this would address my concerns on presentation...)


  1. Risa-
    Well done. I would expect you all to have perfect presentation of your work too!
    That is what happens when you leave something as important as mats to someone else. Rest assured, when I find my mat cutter in my mass of boxes, these mats will be re-cut with perfection. And the two images with color images will be reprinted. Learn this lesson from me...don't agree to a show when you are moving weeks before unless you have time to get it done prior to the move. Last minute work will NEVER be your best work.

  2. This comment has been removed by the author.

  3. I saw Libby's work today and I kept in mind what you said about the presentation of the work. I wasn't trying to look for smudges or mats cut with a curve and I would have to disagree with it being disappointing. I thought it was clean and carefully constructed. Besides that like you I also enjoyed the photographs and also found them humorous. --Jacquelyn