As with many local art spaces in the past year, Barry Whistler Gallery has been on something of a roll. Having just hosted the stark work of Johnnie Winona Ross and the whimsical photographs of Allison V. Smith, the gallery has received a fair amount of press, resulting in some well-deserved foot traffic. Its latest exhibition, Ann Stautberg's Unique, also deserves a closer look from art fans searching for a little color in these gray winter months. The Houston-based Stautberg is known for her unique take on nature photography. Her work is a warm visual treat: a series of extreme close-ups of flora and fauna--in this case, a hibiscus. The images are then painstakingly hand-tinted with oil paints. This process lends a striking wash of color to the pieces, providing a nice contrast to the temporal nature of, well, nature. The beauty of Stautberg's work is that it's a real study in context. Without a preconception that you're looking at photographs of plants, the viewer is left with a meditation on scale, shape, space and color that takes on a vaguely mystical and safely erotic form. The exhibition will be on view at Barry Whistler Gallery, 2909-B Canton St., through January 17. Gallery hours are noon to 5 p.m. Wednesdays through Saturdays. Visit barrywhistlergallery.com.
Wednesdays-Saturdays, 12-5 p.m. Starts: Jan. 2. Continues through Jan. 17, 2009