Robert and Shana ParkeHarrison
In his second book, Luke Smalley revisits the themes and ideas that resonated throughout his 2002 monograph Gymnasium. Smalley returns to his native Pennsylvania to investigate the small-town interiors and landscapes which are the settings for his portraits of young athletes.
Color photographs, inspired by a more innocent era, combine whimsy with the inexplicable: Smalley has hired a local seamstress to construct a colossal medicine ball; he binds two boys together with a "harness" and leaves them in an empty room for a psychological game of tug-of-war, while somewhere nearby two boys lead donkeys around the floor of a basketball court in an empty high school gym. Scale, time, and content are altered to create the world Smalley inhabits; the lush colors of this new world belie the viewer’s sense of dislocation.