Moon Edenbaum has a talent for taking avatar studies that provide a richness of possible narrative. I first encountered his work in a joint exhibition of art featuring Moon and Hillany Scofield back in 2017 (see Dathúil: Me_You – Moon Edenbaum), and have appreciated his work since then. So it was with a sense of anticipation that I jumped over to DiXmiX Gallery, curated by Dixmix Source, to view a new exhibition of Moon’s work entitled The Likelihood of n e a r e s s.
With its official opening held on Friday, March 29th, 2019, this is a series of some 17 images of Moon’s friends. However, rather than being a set of what might be called “traditional” avatar studies, these are quite marvellous studies taken from some unique perspectives, presented in fitting monochrome finishes.
Each image offers a particular context on the individuals portrayed. They are by turns captures of intimacy, of candidness, of coyness and, throughout all of them, nearness. The suggestion is that the avatars are not so much facing the camera, but are spending time with a friend.
This gives all of them that narrative depth I do enjoy with Moon’s work. Each picture has a story to tell, both about the subject and about their relationship with the camera / the person behind the camera. Take Pai, for example; by avoiding any of her facial features, we are presented with an image of someone who could be shy, or at least self-conscious with the idea of a camera pointing at her. But this is picture that also reveals she trusts the camera enough for it not to reveal her vulnerability in this regard, while the camera in turn understands her discomfort and respect it by turning its eye away from the potential to embarrass her.
Coyness is perhaps best exemplified through Yul and Mic. Side-by-side, both offer playful views of their subjects that does much to suggest their nature and their relationship with the camera / photographer. Perhaps my favourite among this collection, however, is perhaps Cyn.
Once again a glorious close-up, there is a layered richness to this picture that is attention-holding. It is at once intimate, revealing and allows the imagination to take flight. From the collar around the subject’s through, through to her pose to the selected angle of the shot itself, the picture offers a story of a woman both aware of – but not bothered by – the presence of the camera, as her attention is held elsewhere, through to a tale of her desires and preferences in relationships. It also raises intriguing questions that give the imagination flight on such matters of her desires and with whom and how they might be met, through to thoughts of exactly who holds her attention, and whether it is in fact the photographer.
It is also, for me, the piece that reflects the title of this most fascinating exhibition, which I have no hesitation in recommending, each picture offering so much to those who view them.
- DiXmiX Galley (Bay Port, rated: Moderate)