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Boston Globe

December 8, 2005

RHONA BITNER: STAGE 

By CATE MCQUAID

There’s nothing like the anticipation as the lights go down in a theater before the show it’s a collective surrender to the magic to come. In her new show at Howard Yezerski Gallery, photographer Rhona Bitner, who in the past has shot portraits of circus performers, turns to the pregnant thrill of the darkened stage. And dark it is: Bitner uses Fuji film, which gives her deeper, richer blacks. She prints in high gloss on a large scale; if you stand right in front of a photograph, you’ll see yourself reflected in the stage. These photos work on two levels. They capture the sense of supercharged fantasy that stage performance can stir, and with their play of spotlights in the dark, they take on a haunting abstraction. If you didn’t know that “MAR1” was a curtain, you might just see a swath of pleated purple in the darkness, strung between delicate copper loops and a slash of red. Either way, Bitner puts us on the edgeimaginations’s precipice, ready to dive in.