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Art: Maurice Mattei at Iris BookCafe

By Jane Durrell · January 11th, 2011 · CityBeat Recommends

Maurice Mattei's timeless photographs of a country where memories run deep are bringing people back to Iris BookCafe to look at Pictures from Italy again. The Cincinnati photographer, musician and general all-round artist was born in Tuscany and, although he's lived almost all his life in the U.S., he has frequently returned there.

This unpretentious exhibition of more than 50 small format black and white prints is drawn from a body of work extending 1977-2007, a time in which small town Italy seems to have changed very little.

The works themselves — film images printed the old fashioned way rather than digitized — show people oblivious to the camera or, sometimes, preening for it. Note that at Iris BookCafe, the exhibitions usually extend into the restroom; you'll find a few photographs there. Pictures from Italy runs through Feb. 18 and looks pleasantly at home among the well-filled bookshelves that distinguish this hospitable place.

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