The pairs of people in Cara Vickers-Kane's photographs sit side by side, dressed in their underwear, staring at the camera as if the other person isn't there.
That's because you're there, looking at the photo. "The viewer creates this triangle. They're welcoming the viewer in, as if they are being presented into the parlor," said Vickers-Kane, formerly of Willimantic, now of Courtland, Va.
Viuckers-Kane is one of five artists who have received artist fellowships from the state Department of Culture and Tourism exhibiting their work currently in a show, "That's Life," at the Constitution Plaza Gallery in Hartford.
Her photo series is called "Parlor Tricks." That title is emphasized by the faux parlor sofa in the background of each photo. It looks as if the models are sitting on it. They're not. They're sitting on stools in front of the backdrop. Each photo is printed on two sheets of paper, which are joined in the middle with subtle imperfections that complement the "trick."
"I wanted it to be almost like a trompe l'oeil painting style presentation of reality," Vickers-Kane said.
Meredith Miller of New Haven also photographs couples. Miller's subjects project more of an air of familiarity. "Chisato and Steve" features a middle-aged couple, clearly at long-standing ease with each other. In another portrait, a tattooed man gives a loving smile to a young woman who wraps her arms around him possessively.
Amy Bilden of Greenwich shows a couple of sorts as well: a thread sculpture in one corner of the gallery which features a dress facing a pair of pants. Bilden also constructed the haunting "Mending Broken Limbs" from found bones, sticks and paper roses, and the 25-piece "For Annabelle."
Two other artists round out the show: Kathryn Myers of Storrs made a video of her interactions with artists in India (for a glimpse, visit regardingindia.com), and Perry Obee of New Haven paints oils-on-canvas of artists in their studios.
"THAT'S LIFE" will be at the Gallery at Constitution Plaza, on the second floor of the office building at 1 Constitution Plaza in Hartford, until Nov. 6. Details: www.cultureandtourism.org.Copyright © 2015, CT Now