In Beneath the Roses, anonymous townscapes, forest clearings and broad, desolate streets are revealed as sites of mystery and wonder; similarly, ostensibly banal interiors become the staging grounds for strange human scenarios. In one image a lone and pregnant woman stands on a wet street corner just before dawn, a small but portentous still point in a world of trajectories. On a stormy night in another nondescript town, a man in a business suit stands beside his car, holding out a hand to the cleansing rain in apparent mystification. In a plush bedroom, a man and a woman – prototypes of middle-class American dislocation – are visited by a songbird, who gazes at the woman from its perch on the vanity unit. Crewdson’s scenes are tangibly atmospheric, visually alluring and often deeply disquieting. Never anchored precisely in time or place, these and the other narratives of Beneath the Roses are rather located in the dystopic landscape of the anxious American imagination .
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