The University of Chicago News Office
Jan. 29, 2004 Press Contact: Karen Reimer
(773) 702-8670

Renaissance Society presents Laura Letinsky

    Resources []
“Untitled #80”, from the series Hardly More Than Ever, 2003, c-print, 33"x28".

Related events:
Opening Reception
Artist Talk
Reading: Sheila E. Murphy

Museum information:
The Renaissance Society
5811 S. Ellis Avenue
Bergman Gallery, Cobb Hall 418
Hours: Tues-Fri 10 am-5 pm, Sat & Sun 12-5 pm. Closed Mondays.
Admission to the gallery and all events is free.
Hardly More Than Ever
March 7 – April 19, 2004

In a society obsessed with plentitude and perfection in the home —magazine racks and cable networks are rife with how-to home décor and gourmet cooking— Laura Letinsky photographs abandoned tabletops in disarray. The large scale photographs in her new series, Hardly More Than Ever, capture clusters of nibbled and rotting foods, tablecloth stains, and wilting flowers, framed by dramatic diagonals of silverware or counter edges, amid vast emptinesses. As a contemporary addition to the grand Western still life tradition, these photographs comment on the evanescence of material and sensual pleasure.

Though traditional in genre, Letinsky’s compositions have a radical and beguiling dynamism. Stark backdrops cause her tabletops to waver between flatness and three-dimensionality; accents such as an errant bottle cap and a hovering plum add, as Letinsky describes, “ambiguity about gravity”; and her “pastel-acidic” palette, because it is both at once, evokes the simultaneity of youth and decay.

Letinsky’s interest in still life grew out of her work on intimacy and domesticity in an earlier series of photographs, Venus Inferred, of lovers in their homes. Themes of temptation and carnal desire are common to both projects. The majority of foodstuffs in Hardly More Than Ever are sweets both refined and natural: a sticky tootsie pop, a slice of decadent chocolate cake, and suggestively bulbous fruits of all varieties. The two series of photographs, then, capture a range of emotions associated with post-gluttonous (and post-coital) indulgence. She describes the trajectory of her foods from coveted to off-putting: “from sweet, like sweetheart, to too sweet, sickly sweet, and then disgusting, insect infested.”

Laura Letinsky is a Chicago-based artist and Associate Professor in the Committee on the Visual Arts at the University of Chicago.


Opening Reception
Sunday, March 7
4:00 to 7:00 pm
Artist Talk
Sunday, March 7
5:00 to 6:00 pm
Cobb Hall, Room 306
Sheila E. Murphy
Sunday, March 28 at 2:00 pm
Cobb Hall, Room 402

Poet Sheila E. Murphy was the 2001 recipient of the Gertrude Stein Award for poetry. Hers is a complexly layered language of scraps and scrims compressed to kaleidoscopic effect. Her new/forthcoming books include Green Tea with Ginger (Potes & Poets Press); Letters to Unfinished J (Green Integer Press); and Incessant Seeds (Pavement Saw Press).

MUSEUM INFORMATION: Established in 1915, The Renaissance Society is Chicago’s oldest contemporary art museum. Focusing on the forefront of the visual arts, The Renaissance Society maintains an international reputation as one of the finest resources for contemporary art. In addition to exhibitions, The Renaissance Society also sponsors concerts, performances, film and video screenings, and talks by noted artists and critics.

Hours: Tues-Fri 10-5, Sat & Sun 12-5. Closed Mon.

Admission to the gallery and all events is free.
Last modified at 10:50 AM CST on Tuesday, March 02, 2004.

University of Chicago News Office
5801 South Ellis Avenue - Room 200
Chicago, Illinois 60637-1473
(773) 702-8360
Fax: (773) 702-8324
Contact Us