Stepping out of the frigid February weather and into the gallery, I was hit with another kind of chilliness within the large format photographs by Gregory Crewdson. Upon first glance, the smooth quality of the images tempted my eye to believe they were not photographs at all, but oil paintings, urging me to step closer. Though I was not initially attracted to first photograph I encountered--unconvinced by the contrived scenes--as I walked through the gallery the group of images worked together like stills from a movie, creating an ambiance that saturated the space. It was an atmosphere of indistinct tension--of cool and warm, exterior and interior, static and theatrical, where the pathetic and mundane seemed to be teetering at the edge of the dramatic.
This tension is especially strong in the piece, Woman at Sink, in which a middle-aged woman stands in the kitchen of a seemingly unremarkable rural american home. She looks off into the distance with a sullen expression. In front of her is a sink brimming with water, tainted with an unsettling blood red hue.
Crewdson has cleverly crafted palette, considered perspective, and deployed props to provoke a subtle mystery which lures you into the ambiguous and often awkward narrative, drawing out your empathy and tempting you to step into this cold and uncomfortable world.