Maria Lau

"Unexpected Pleasures Hiding in the Files." New York Times

September 5, 1999

Unexpected Pleasures Hiding in the Files. New York Times. September 5, 1999. William Zimmer.

The Jersey City Museum keeps a slide file, and artists are encouraged to send images of their work on the principle that one never knows who might be interested in it. Recently this resource turned out to be the museum curator's best friend. When an exhibition fell through, Alejandro Anreus drew out the work of three New Jersey artists and fashioned a show titled ''From the Slide Registry: Valeri Larko, Maria Lau and Henry Sanchez.''

However last-minute, the show clicks. Although the art is widely diverse, there is a common feeling of vulnerability and precariousness. But each artist's contribution creates its own world. When a viewer is absorbed in one artist's work, that of the other two seems to disappear.

…Ms. Lau, a Jersey City native of Cuban descent, recently went to Cuba to take photographs with a documentary quality. The dicey nature of relations between the United States and Cuba contribute to the edginess of her vision, but the deliberately tentative and skewed nature of her images depicts a place at once ghostly and oddly ripe. 

Her major technique is labeled infrared, and even though the viewer doesn’t know how it is done, the results are obviously unusual. The infrared process makes black and white photographs look like a Chinese ink drawing made with a thin wash; the subject if in danger of vanishing." Santera," a black and white picture that is not infrared, is a portrait of a woman who probably practices Santeria, the religion that combines Cuban and African beliefs. Ms. Lau makes an emphatic emblem of duality by capturing her subject puffing on a cigar and cooling herself with an especially lacy fan. 

Color photographs subjected to the infrared process have their colors distorted. Green becomes magenta, so palm trees or close-ups of grass growing between paving stones are eerie. This sensation is compounded in " Flowergirl"; the subject, in her white dress, looks through a viewer at the city across the bay, and the viewer is made to wonder what this neophyte’s prospects are, in several senses of the word. In almost all of Ms. Lau’s photographs, the protagonists seem to be at a distance-sometimes a psychological one-from their surroundings." 

Read full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/05/nyregion/art-review-unexpected-pleasures-hiding-in-the-files.html


"Unexpected Pleasures Hiding in the Files." New York Times

September 5, 1999

Unexpected Pleasures Hiding in the Files. New York Times. September 5, 1999. William Zimmer.

The Jersey City Museum keeps a slide file, and artists are encouraged to send images of their work on the principle that one never knows who might be interested in it. Recently this resource turned out to be the museum curator's best friend. When an exhibition fell through, Alejandro Anreus drew out the work of three New Jersey artists and fashioned a show titled ''From the Slide Registry: Valeri Larko, Maria Lau and Henry Sanchez.''

However last-minute, the show clicks. Although the art is widely diverse, there is a common feeling of vulnerability and precariousness. But each artist's contribution creates its own world. When a viewer is absorbed in one artist's work, that of the other two seems to disappear.

…Ms. Lau, a Jersey City native of Cuban descent, recently went to Cuba to take photographs with a documentary quality. The dicey nature of relations between the United States and Cuba contribute to the edginess of her vision, but the deliberately tentative and skewed nature of her images depicts a place at once ghostly and oddly ripe. 

Her major technique is labeled infrared, and even though the viewer doesn’t know how it is done, the results are obviously unusual. The infrared process makes black and white photographs look like a Chinese ink drawing made with a thin wash; the subject if in danger of vanishing." Santera," a black and white picture that is not infrared, is a portrait of a woman who probably practices Santeria, the religion that combines Cuban and African beliefs. Ms. Lau makes an emphatic emblem of duality by capturing her subject puffing on a cigar and cooling herself with an especially lacy fan. 

Color photographs subjected to the infrared process have their colors distorted. Green becomes magenta, so palm trees or close-ups of grass growing between paving stones are eerie. This sensation is compounded in " Flowergirl"; the subject, in her white dress, looks through a viewer at the city across the bay, and the viewer is made to wonder what this neophyte’s prospects are, in several senses of the word. In almost all of Ms. Lau’s photographs, the protagonists seem to be at a distance-sometimes a psychological one-from their surroundings." 

Read full article:

http://www.nytimes.com/1999/09/05/nyregion/art-review-unexpected-pleasures-hiding-in-the-files.html