For her third New York solo show, the superb young photographer Talia Chetrit has set aside her trademark, bewitching still lifes and nudes, for equally bewitching portraits of her mother, father, brother and herself. The photographs span almost two decades, no mean feat for an artist who turned 30 last year: about half of the dozen works come from negatives that she shot made back in 1995, when she was just starting out with photography.
Ms. Chetrit has recropped some of these black-and-white pictures so that her subjects are tightly framed. A portrait of her brother provides only a partial view of his stern face, in dark sunglasses. Her father, also bespectacled, is seen from an angle. One eye is turning ever so slightly, perhaps with a touch of concern, toward his daughter’s camera. Portrait (1995/2013) shows Ms. Chetrit with her mother, who half-smiles warmly; her daughter looks down, lost in thought. In Self-portrait (13) (1995/2013), Ms. Chetrit appears again. Wearing a skirt, she leans back awkwardly, arms crossed, in a pose that recalls certain of Balthus’s erotically charged paintings.
In these older works, Ms. Chetrit seems to home in on the stories that linger silently in images, which are accessible only after the passage of time and through editing. In most of the remaining works, she revisits her subjects in new photographs, all but one in color. As ever with her art, tiny details transmit arresting intimacies: the imprint of mesh from a chair on her sunbathing mother’s arm, or a tangle of reflections in a window.
Ms. Chetrit has spoken of photography as “a permanent record of something that never existed.” Here she’s showing that record itself as unfixed—open to alterations, both physical and psychological.
(Through Oct. 6, 2013)