Wednesday, July 13, 2011

DONALD LOKUTA : in plato's cave

The relation between what we see and what we know is never settled.
---John Berger

Donald Lokuta's series of photographs "In Plato's Cave" presents the viewer with people in the act of looking. Surprisingly, Mr. Lokuta has chosen to carefully blacken out the backgrounds with paint selectively creating black voids pregnant with meanings that while referencing Plato's allegory are pointed catalysts for examining today's shadowy media-imprisoned world. Mr. Lokuta's backgrounds are unerringly black. My initial thoughts regarding this blackness brought to mind the sound artists Haswell and Hecker's workBlackest Ever Black, a title derived from a scientific paper on "the blackest black ever made on Earth" seemingly an ultra-black coating for optical instruments that absorbs all the light that hits it. Not unlike the all-devouring media-machine that feeds us our notions of the real, this shadowy blackness suggests not only a jumbled multiplicity of perceptual points of view, but no small amount of fear-filled uncertainty that is our 21th century world.

Mr. Lokuta draws us in with velvety gelatin silver images infused with humanity. It is ironic nonetheless that this photographic art, essentially the manipulation of light and transparency, should be made to speak so compellingly about ourselves and our world utilizing not only darkness, but figures whose faces are turned away from us. Mr. Lokuta should be thanked for realizing art's ultimate goal to force us to reconsider the world we live in and our place in it anew. (above: Six People among Rocks 2008-2009) For more see

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