/27 Machine

Cara Phillips

Singular Beauty

In Cara Phillips’ Singular Beauty, the plastic surgery consulting room is available to us in its purest form—vacant, exposed, brightly lit and yet somehow haunted by the anesthetized violence that takes place in it.

Phillips has chosen to photograph these rooms without human occupants. Instead of people, instruments have power here, and chairs. Chairs leaning back like lovers with arms wide open, calling us into their embrace. A chair is a place of offering, an opening. It is from chairs that we observe, contemplate, work, communicate and travel. Chairs that are empty have special weight, for they echo what once was, or what might be. Warhol made a series of prints of an electric execution-chair, a grainy picture screen-printed in various colors. Vacant and boxy, squatting with ladder-back and leather straps, it waits for both the condemned and for the voyeur.

Meredith Jones