If you’re uptown for the Whitney Biennial and feeling overwhelmed by its massive scope, consider walking a block north to Higher Pictures to see a show of works by Travess Smalley. “Compositions in Clay” is the product of Smalley’s unique working process—the artist covers the glass of a flatbed scanner with modeling clay, manipulates and molds the material, and then scans the results to create the negative for the print. The three 7-plus-feet-tall C-prints are both ghostly and remarkably present and imposing, and they’re a digestible respite from the Biennial’s clamor.
Smalley’s photo-collages combine both digital and physical manufacture. To Smalley, C&P is done with both scissors and glue and Photoshop manipulation. The bright images have a restless quality, as they form a loop from the screen to the page and back again.