Dreaming of the 1980s
There are several amazing things to love about photographer Stu Levy. First, his artist’s bio begins like this: “After his college rock band failed to make it big, he went on to med school, becoming a physician and practicing family medicine in Portland, Oregon.”
Levy must have channeled his musical creative energy into visual art while he was professionally healing families, capturing fetching landscapes and intricate multiframe environmental portraits. The latter, Grid-Portraits, are black-and-white gestalts of around 12 to 20 individual photographs that create a wide-angle view into his subjects’ homes or offices. In them, sometimes the edges of the furniture don’t align, or sometimes the baby in foreground is also in the middle ground and the background, giving the impression that the room is overrun with babies. He engages the viewer’s perception in a playful way, sometimes leaving humorous details in one of the frames of the grid, such as an ax over a baby’s crib. Or even better, the former mayor of Portland in the 1980s, Bud Clark, with a handlebar mustache, beard and plus fours on his bicycle, way before Portlandia ever spoofed dreaming of the 1890s. And that is hard not to love.