7/10/09 4:00 PM
Hallucinogenic flowers, fun-house-mirror storefronts, acid-colored river views—the imagery painstakingly concocted by Henri Molle through hours and hours of digital manipulation is the stuff of the Surrealists, once upon a time. Today, though, the garish colors and trippy effects through which Molle filters his photographs of Austin and its surroundings reveal not the psychological experimentation that the Surrealists were after—in terms of finding the extraordinary in the ordinary—so much as a new way of making pleasurable and appealing imagery. Molle takes the subjects of the dedicated amateur photographer or painter—attractive city views, romantic country vistas, cool storefronts, still lifes, close-up scenes from nature—and makes them weird, yes, but weird in a way that would appeal to anyone who likes hot colors, jazzy shapes, nifty effects, and, in the end, recognizable and romantic subject matter. Though the digital effects are radical in how they transform their base images, what’s curious is that the end results have nothing particularly radical about them. Nor need they: the most pleasant images rarely do.