Mark Citret at Chicago’s Catherine Edelman Gallery
by Garrett Holg
San Francisco photographer Mark Citret focuses on the ordinary and the overlooked in daily life, like a play ground slide, a warehouse ladder, or a motel tub and shower. But his extraordinarily nuanced black-and-hite images are anything but mundane. Landscapes are mood-filled, often hazy odes to the tradition of late-19th- and early-20th- pictorial photography. Interiors, with their subdued geometric forms, take on a more formal and abstract quality.
The majority of gelatin silver prints in this show spanning three decades of work—most images dated from the 1990s and later—demonstrated Citret’s knack for depicting light. His is not a hard, cold kind of light that cuts sharply defined edges but a misty, radiant one that envelops and softens forms.
Citret frequently treats this light, whose sources are often beyond the camera’s view, as something mystical or religious. In Open Door (1993), for instance, light spills from a doorway opening onto a long, empty corridor, lending an otherworldly aura to a commonplace scene. In Roadside Rest, Southern Idaho (1992), a lone picnic table centered at the end of a cross-shape cement walkway suggests an altar of sorts. Seen against a dramatically darkening sky, the landscape has a portentous and almost biblical effect. Citret creates a preternatural stillness and dreamlike quiet that encourages reflection.