"BIG Picture"

Call it big pictures in a small exhibit that includes some big artists. "BIG Picture" offers a dozen of the Norton Museum's latest large-scale photographic acquisitions. It's an opportunity to see how size matters — that is, how scale informs the artist's work. Some of the subjects are real people. Chuck Close, known for his painted portraiture, uses a camera when his subject here is a photographer. The studio lighting employed on his large photogravure Lorna Simpson focuses on the New York photographer's beauty — a silent, reflective strength — that includes blemishes and wrinkles. Gregor's Room, a C print diptych by Teresa Hubbard and Alexander Birchler (who also work in video) brings the viewer into the action of a dramatic narrative — Kafka's character Gregor Samsa, one might assume, searching his Old World bedroom with a flashlight. Preferring to turn the lens on places, Joseph Barscherer's Canal 3 (C print on plexiglass) captures the magnitude of waterfront industry, where mountains of coal dwarf warehouses and heavy machinery. Likewise, 42nd Street Times Square Manhattan, a pigment ink print by Jeff Chien-Hsing Liao, provides a sharp reminder of the huge space that advertising claims in modern life. Thomas Demand uses the image of shattered blue-green pottery in a stone stairwell to explore the subtleties of color and texture that might be overlooked in a smaller work. Similarly, the eerily white sea and sky of Elger Esser's Tracy-sur-Mer I offers an appreciation of its subtle textures when viewed up close but becomes an abstraction — a slender brown line on a white field — when viewed at a distance. Also on display, works by Reiner Leist, Candida Höfer, Valerie Belin, Stephen Loffelhardt, and Jeff Wall. (Through September 23 at Norton Museum of Art, 1451 S. Olive Ave., West Palm Beach. Call 561-832-5196.)

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Marya Summers