Torkel Korling | Theater Critic's Choice | Chicago Reader

Arts & Culture » Theater Critic's Choice

Torkel Korling

by

comment

Torkel Korling was one of America's most important industrial photographers, but his first love was botany, which helps explain his work's precise beauty. Among the 26 Korling photos in Stephen Daiter Gallery's "Big Shoulders" exhibit are four untitled cityscapes that showcase his eye for geometry. My favorite is a 1930s image of two streetcars on Chicago's Madison Street bridge, in which the river, bridge deck, and two sidewalks form trapezoids that create motion in the scene. Korling's industrial images are also magnificent. A 1939 photo at the Pullman-Standard company in Michigan City has two giant lifting hooks in the foreground that give perspective to a line of railcars extending toward a bright, distant light. In a 1948 image of a packaging facility, cases of Saran Wrap stream down a U-shaped ramp, offsetting the rigid lines formed by stacks of boxes. A photo of an R.R. Donnelley printing press shows two grease-covered technicians surrounded by gears and cogs--an image that seems to synopsize Korling's career of trying to reproduce natural order. Stephen Daiter Gallery, 311 W. Superior, suite 404, through March 1. Hours are 11 to 6 Friday and Saturday and by appointment; 312-787-3350.

Add a comment