Published by Safe-T-Gallery Inc.
Don Burmeister: Owner/Editor
Barbara Confino: Associate Editor
The mystery and wildness of animals has frequently appealed to photographers: Pentti Sammallahti and Joseph Koudelka come quickly to mind. Colleen Plumbs’s work at the Jen Bekman gallery has a more whimsical take on the subject, perhaps one more suitable to the colorful, pastel palette she chooses. While her preference for large color prints places her squarely in the contemporary manner, her preference for soft baby blues and rosy tones sweetens the brew.
From the gigantic Trojan Horse of an elephant to the tiny lab mouse in its glass coffin, animals and their facsimiles find ways to insinuate themselves into her view. With its ferocious teeth facing us, the dead raccoon on the beach is the strongest image in the bunch, the one with the most menace. But her depressed circus elephant has the most pathos.
Although she does not succeed in giving us a deep glimpse into the essential otherness of the animal world, nor that wild gorgeousness so easy to admire in the best work of National Geographic photographers, there is a lightness, almost a feyness to her style. This is not to demean it, only to pinpoint a delicacy of touch with its own satisfactions for her animals exist in an unexpected space of their own.
Because of it, Plumb’s work possesses a quality rare in contemporary photography: charm. It is a charm neither cloying nor Hallmarkian; rather one that celebrates a little bit of oddness in an otherwise ordinary world.