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Live Active Cultures

Seth gallery-hops and puddle-jumps on Third Thursday at CityArts Factory

On the one hand, some of her works had undeniable impact, and there was obvious expertise (both analog and Photoshop) employed. On the other, the overwrought ennuiappeared to me somewhat artificial, as if generated by an angst app. In fact, on one wall hung an arrangement of Polaroid-esque prints labeled “Hipstamatic” after the popular iPhone photo simulator. I’m a frequent user of the app myself, which churns out snapshots that look like they’ve been stored in a shoebox since 1972. But I’m unsure if Singleton’s invocation of Hipstamatic is meant as a comment on the commodification of retro-creation, or an unironic exploitation of it. Either way, I left Alterverse equal parts appreciative and unnerved.

Finally, after a bit of fumbling I found the Redefine Gallery in the former home of Nu Visions Photography, which is now where the glass factory once was. (There’s no signage for Redefine from the interior, and the exterior sign is too artistic to include the name in an obvious way; even the guy behind the front desk wasn’t sure where it was.) The current exhibition from Orlando’s B-Side and other local and national street artists focuses on selling signed and numbered prints.

Again, I found the show a double-edged sword. It’s wonderful that visitors can walk away with one of Hydro74’s intricate gray-on-black designs for an affordable price, but I felt odd pawing through art like it was the poster rack at Spencer’s Gifts, and the fetishistic recycling of military and entertainment totems (guns, gas masks and ghoulish celebrities) ultimately exhausts me.

In the building’s back hallway I stumbled across a brief breath of fresh air: a collection of photographs by Douglas Nesbitt that mixed prosaic ground-level humanism (“Homegirls Fishing”) with an eye for urban abstraction (“Architectural Study With Yellow Window Frames”). Save for that series, I left Third Thursday with the soggy sensation that the “Factory” part of CityArts is still alive and well.

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