For a photographer whose work is full of the best kind of contradictions—fiction and fact, banality and exoticism, sexuality and domesticity—the title "Filthy Gorgeous" is apt for John Arsenault's upcoming solo show. A series of self portraits, the work is unabashedly self-focused showing a range of emotions, scenarios and levels of undress.
A playful kind of humor runs throughout, almost as if Arsenault's sharing an inside joke with the viewer. It's an effective tactic, offsetting what would otherwise come across as mere solipsism. Other images have a more sober tone as well, touching on vulnerability and loneliness.
Overall, the mix of flash-lit snapshots, elaborately staged scenes and Arsenault's unrelenting gaze has a loosely kinetic feel; it's a show that gets as much meaning from varied subjects and techniques as it gets from its themes.
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