In February, artist Paul Cava canceled his exhibition at the Philadelphia Episcopal Cathedral hours before it was to open after church authorities objected to nudity in some images, calling it “inappropriate” for the sanctuary, and asked for them to be removed from the show. Now his exhibition, “Inks,” has found a more simpatico environment at Old City’s Moderne Gallery.
The earliest series of photo collages in the show addresses the Cambodian genocide. Cava started making them in 1997 after seeing the 1996 book The Killing Fields and its photographs of Khmer Rouge prisoners at the notorious prison Tuol Sleng.
He cut out pages from the book for his series “Tuol Sleng,” then painted and stamped the appropriated portraits with black, gold, and white inks. A final layer of sepia-colored varnish gives these haunting manipulated portraits an aged appearance, as though they were found hidden away and unprotected.