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Review of Powerhouse: The Photographs of Darris Lee Harris
By Alan G. Artner
Tribune art critic
Published May 25, 2007

Eighty years after American artists optimistically looked to the promise of industry, another generation is surveying the ruins, in paintings, photographs and even sculptures of dazzling, unexpected beauty.

Darris Lee Harris' photographs of the Homan Square Power House in Chicago, at the ArchiTech Gallery, are a particularly good example. Harris, a working architectural photographer, was one of several lensmen who went into the early 20th Century plant that currently is being renovated into the Henry Ford Power House Charter High School.
He documented both the overall disposition of industrial equipment and details such as instrument gauges, machinery insignias and left- behind union buttons.

Harris shot all of the vistas of the building in several exposures 15 to 20 minutes in length. Then he made the color prints digitally by seamlessly piecing together sections of the various negatives to keep everything -- there is a tremendous amount of information in the 40- by-50-inch prints -- in perfect focus.

The results are documents as physically beautiful as those of Chicago's movie palaces. But they also cause something more, an ache that comes from the knowledge our industrial might has passed into history. Other artists in recent months, in painting as well as
sculpture, have pressed on this sore spot, but none have surpassed the gentle poignancy evoked here.

At 730 N. Franklin St., 312-475-1290.
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harris
Darris Lee Harris
Powerhouse #38, 2006
Archival large format exhibition print, 2007
40 x 50 inches

 


David Jameson
ArchiTech Gallery
730 North Franklin suite 200
Chicago, IL 60610
312-475-1290
ArchiTechGallery@earthlink.net

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