Review: Caleb Cole's photographs connect with people
This article first appeared in the St. Louis Beacon, May 17, 2010 - “Marks of Absence” is the title of a pair of invitational exhibitions organized by the local Santo Foundation. One of these, currently at Good Citizen Gallery, is “Other People's Clothes,” a remarkable little show of photographs by Indianapolis-based artist Caleb Cole.
The 26 modestly scaled color images are strung together at eye-level along a horizontal line, like frames of a film. Each shows Cole, dressed in ill-fitting garb, acting out a moment in someone else’s life.
You may not know these people, but you know their types: sad old men, adolescents in too-tight clothes, a hunter surrounded by trophy heads, the lonely receptionist at the veterinarian’s office.
The comparison to Cindy Sherman’s “Untitled Film Stills” only takes you so far, for Cole’s characters never make it into the movies; they’re too quotidian to be iconic.
Still, the photos offer plenty of observations on the sad, beautiful, somewhat desperate character of ordinary lives: shoes repaired with duct tape, a snack of whiskey and Girl Scout Cookies, the dull disappointment of the losing lottery ticket.
(The second “Marks of Absence” exhibition features work by Lily Cox-Richard and Lori Larusso at Fort Gondo Compound for the Arts.)
Ivy Cooper, a professor of art at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, is the Beacon's art critic.