New York Photo Review
from the NYPR Archives

Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Soho Photo Gallery
Central Booking Magazine

Betel Nut Beauties
Magda Biernat
Betal Nut Beauties
Ed Barnas
Magda Biernat

On display in the side room at the CLIC Gallery and Bookstore are sixteen color photographs of betel nut stands throughout Taiwan. The small glass-fronted enclosures sell a local stimulant popular with long haul truck drivers. The “Beauties” of the exhibit title are the young women who staff these roadside stands in rather skimpy attire. Taken at varying distances and angles, the young women are barely visible in some of the images.

These square format prints of roadside stands strike me more as architectural studies of a bleak, unpopulated environment than as portraits of their inhabitants. What comes across is the isolation and boredom of these young women who wait, dressed in skimpy attire, for the customers who never appear in any of these photos. In only one image (#6) does the young woman, caught in mid-stride exiting the stand, appear active. In all the other images they are static, sitting or standing.

 by unidentified photographer.
Magda Biernat

I noticed loosely unfurled umbrellas appear in several of the images. In one case (#9), the umbrella so dominates the foreground that it appears to be subject of the image. Interestingly, this image was also my favorite – it had an air of mystery, the young woman out of focus in the background and a grid of lights in the sky imparting a sci-fi feel.

Complementing the doll-like nature of the women in the photos are five clear plastic cubes containing collectible figurines of these young women sitting or standing by their counters.

Magda Biernat
Betal Nut Beauties


Clic Bookstore and Gallery (B)
424 Broome St.
Lower Manhattan - East         Map

212 219 9308
clicgallery.com

Tuesday, February 8 to
Sunday, March 6, 2011
Hours: Tue-Sun, 12 to 7
Share

The Genetic Wars by Barbara Confino
Making Caribbean Dance by Susanna Sloat
Central Booking Magazine
Soho Photo Gallery