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There’s nothing gray about the sparkling new show at CCA’s Wattis Institute, The Gray Area—Uncertain Images: Bay Area Photography 1970s to Now. The walls are a bit crowded, but I wouldn’t know where to begin if I had to trim it down.

Highlights include Keith Boadwee’s ridiculous portrait of what looks like a Fry Guy wearing an Afghan; Ari Marcopoulos’s large print of a plywood climbing wall propped up against a suitably climbable tree; Richard Misrach’s surreal Hawaiian jungle shots from 1978; Todd Hido’s recent discovery of lonely streetlights; Aaron Plant’s exploration of blue goo; and Abner Nolan’s moody prints from found negatives—even the guy on the suspension bridge seems a bit bewildered to be here.

The show is bound not just by the geography of the artists, but also by a collective inquiry into what makes our world so different from the one we were introduced to. Will Rogan’s three prints exemplify the curiosity: very minor miracles, to be sure, but each one is indisputably true, right there in front of you.

- Tucker Nichols [Wednesday, December 3rd, 2003]

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