New exhibition at San Antonio's Ruby City emphasizes photos' capability to surprise

'The exhibition revolves around a selection of photo-based works which cause viewers to be surprised or even troubled by their appearance and subject matter or the materials used in their production,' Ruby City's director said.

click to enlarge British artist Jonathan Monk's In Edition (to tears) features an eerie passport photo mutilated with a strategically placed pair of dangle earrings. - Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City
Linda Pace Foundation Collection, Ruby City
British artist Jonathan Monk's In Edition (to tears) features an eerie passport photo mutilated with a strategically placed pair of dangle earrings.
A former blackbox theater space at San Antonio's Ruby City arts complex has undergone a stark white makeover for Unsettled Eye, an exhibition of photography-based works held in the Linda Pace Foundation Collection.

Presenting far more questions than answers, the group show comprises familiar works and recent acquisitions alike, with a sense of discomfort functioning as a thematic thread. It opens Saturday, June 1.

“The exhibition revolves around a selection of photo-based works which cause viewers to be surprised or even troubled by their appearance and subject matter or the materials used in their production,” Ruby City Director Elyse A. Gonzales told the Current. “They disturb or call into question what viewers are seeing — hopefully ‘unsettling’ them in the best possible way!”

Among the highlights, Artpace alum Anne Collier’s 2009 diptych Eyes of Laura Mars goes beyond meta by presenting appropriated images of actress Faye Dunaway — looking quite unsettled herself — portraying a photographer in the 1978 thriller of the same name.

A fellow fan of high-concept appropriation, British artist Jonathan Monk similarly demands eye contact with In Edition (to tears) — an eerie passport photo mutilated with a strategically placed pair of dangle earrings.

“One prime example of the show is James Casebere’s Panopticon Prison #3,” Gonzales continued. “It looks like an image of a building in shadow but is actually a model of a prison he photographed. His work brings up all manner of ideas related to incarceration and the sometimes-flawed notions we have about architecture’s ability to be rehabilitative to those living within its confines.”

Free, walk-through and opening reception 2-5 p.m. Saturday, June 1, on view by appointment 10 a.m.-6 p.m. Thursday-Sunday through April 27, 2025, Ruby City, 150 Camp St., (210) 227-8400, rubycity.org.

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