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"A Matter of Wit" at FotoFest: Subtle, Sometimes Poignant

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"A Matter of Wit" is an apt title for FotoFest's exhibition of three photographers who cleverly capture, construct and/or stage images that use humor in ways that are subtle and sometimes even poignant. The Europeans are the standouts in this show, curated by FotoFest's Wendy Watriss. Czech artist Miro Švolík displays an Eastern European sense of the absurd. In a wonderful series from the '80s, the artist staged scenes on the pavement below his studio window. In one, a man lies flat on the ground, legs posed as if he is running, his back bent and his arms held out behind him to seemingly support an unsupportably tall stack of books that stretches over the pavement.

Meanwhile, French artist Gilbert Garcin, who didn't take up photography until age 65, creates charming and low-tech black-and-white images. He photographs himself in various poses, always in the same trench coat, and then makes a tiny print of himself. He then cuts it out and inserts it into little dioramas he has constructed using humble materials like sand, bricks and nails. In one image, he seems to put his arm around a rock, embracing it like an old friend.

On view through February 25. FotoFest, 1113 Vine Street, 713-223-5522.

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