Arts & Culture » Arts

In the Galleries: In the Details CLOSES September 21 at the Sheldon Art Galleries



Using black-and-white snapshots from the '30s and '40s, Chicago-based artist Shawn Michelle Smith creates photographic displays that focus on otherwise-overlooked details in the images. In the series Excess and Accident, small grids of silver gelatin prints home in on and enlarge atmospheric incidentals such as background passersby, abstract shadows, tree branches, an array of fresh fish for sale. The artist found the photos for When the Train Rolls In in her grandparents' photo albums. A man leans jauntily in full suit and hat on a large train wheels — his face duplicated in a smaller-scale enlargement that assembles only a portion of the whole. A woman next to him gazes off-camera, while the train itself lengthens in a row of framed details. Other collections of images in this series feature wider angles of train stations, the large train cars parceled out in select glimpses while travelers in their sallying-forth finery bustle around the grand machines. It's a body of work that celebrates subtly and excavates an almost cinematic vision from perhaps toss-away still frames, repeating slight gestures, historical artifacts and impressions of the everyday now long gone. Through September 21 at the Sheldon Art Galleries, 3648 Washington Boulevard; 314-533-9900 or www Hours: noon-8 p.m. Tue., noon-5 p.m. Wed.-Fri., 10 a.m.-2 p.m. Sat.