The first work that confronts viewers in Tabitha Soren’s exhibition “Surface Tension,” now at the Mills College Art Museum through Dec. 12, is a photograph of a human eye enlarged to fill a large wall partition. It is an image that is both grounding for the viewer in its epic scale and disorienting.

Within a few seconds, it’s clear the photo has had some kind of additional artistic intervention, but exactly what is hard to place. At the corners of the eye, at the lash line and around the pupil there are icy blue, fiery red and white smudges that seem to glimmer. Eventually, you can make out the lines and patterns of fingerprints in the iridescent smudges, a revelation that yields further questions.

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