warmed up the small crowd gathered to hear Philip Ross and Laura Splan talk at Camerawork last night. The gallery’s current exhibition, photographs of the Mutter Museum’s collection of medical curiosities, includes work by Rosamond Purcell, William Wegman, and Joel-Peter Witkin. By and large, the photographers are upstaged by their subject matter. The only way a skeleton of conjoined twins wouldn’t be riveting would be if you couldn’t see it. Splan’s work also has its macabre moments—such as a scarf knit of surgical tubing, running bright red with its wearer’s blood—although she gives herself more room to maneuver conceptually than the photographers. In this company, Ross’s work, which emphasizes growing things, seemed practically sunny and uplifting, two qualities I’ll bet he thought it would never be accused of. The evening as a whole was a great bit of programming by Camerawork. You have through September 6 to see the show, at 1246 Folsom in San Francisco.

- Meredith Tromble [Thursday, August 28th, 2003]


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