Arty Girl: Keith Stanton at ASU Gammage Gallery

By Lilia Menconi

I've always given myself a big, fat pat on the back for being somewhat self-aware. Usually, I can admit to my flaws without too much of a problem. So here's a little confession: I grew up in the suburbs and I'm a consumer. I can't help it. I'm comfortable in mundane environments and I enjoy buying stuff.

Sure, it's nothing to be a big snotty crier in a therapy session about, but, it's not my most admirable trait and I experience a twinge of shame when I think about it.

But it's this tragically generic flaw that allows me to relate to the work of Keith Stanton.

Since my brother introduced me to Stanton's multi-media photography a couple years ago, I've been thrilled to see Stanton's work pop up around town. Originally from Chicago, Stanton attended ASU to get his BFA then moved to New York and learned still-life photography at Kraft Food's photo studio. Then it was on to the Fashion Institute of Technology where he studied Display and Exhibit Design. After seeing his work at Sky Harbor Airport and Eye Lounge (to name a couple) it's obvious that Stanton's mix of artistic flair, technical photography skills and meticulous design have delightfully melded to create his unique craft.

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Stanton's C-Print photographs capture quiet suburban landscapes like this backyard Jacuzzi scene. No one's around - it's the quiet, private moment before someone strips down and slips in for a relaxing time. And with his smirk-worthy title, I'm reminded of those must-have purchases I've made that have plummeted me further into debt.

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This peek into someone's backyard is hushed and voyeuristic. It captures the sense of seclusion we suburbanites crave and fabricate by way of property lines and six foot tall brick walls.

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It's easy to tell by his images that Stanton is all about fabrication. The scenes he shoots aren't real at all - each is a carefully crafted model. Stanton creates these miniatures in architectural scale and shoots with a macro lens so the proportions are spot on. At a first glance in a gallery, the images can be tricky. But with his saccharin sense of color, it doesn't take long to realize there's something a little off - everything is too shiny and lacquered for reality. Stanton often uses forgotten toys or items picked up at thrift stores, resuscitating the life of a once-purchased and cherished item.

I'm definitely going to head out to ASU's Gammage Auditorium where what Stanton refers to as "a years worth of my best stuff" is on display. And, trust me, I'll check the prices to see if I can't slap down my credit card to take one of these babies home.

Show is now on display until October 19th at ASU Gammage, 1200 S. Forest Ave in Tempe. Viewing hours are Mondays 1-4pm or by appointment. Call 480-965-6912. www.keithstanton.com.

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