REVIEW One of my most uninteresting college professors used to insist that negatives only exist in language, but couldn't explain what this meant. That's funny, I thought, because I can physically feel a complete lack of interest in your class. In fact, I think you can feel it too; it's contagious. Nonetheless, I was never bored as a child, and I'm still never bored. The boring and the uninteresting are different concepts. Julie Blackmon's lucid, staged photographs of childhood fantasy worlds in the twilight of America are stunning for a ton of reasons, but first and foremost they get their signature bite and sting by recognizing that everyone in each scene is interested in different things. There is no sincere panorama. From the modern intrusions into Blackmon's protoclassical, Dutch-inspired scenes a miniature FedEx truck, Netflix mail to trippy little things such as the almost lurid dog eyes and discarded gloves in Snow Day (2008), every person, place, and thing appears distracted by an otherworldly mission.
Adding to this sense of confused biography, Blackmon, the oldest of nine kids and now a mother of three, uses people and things from her life in her work like a novelist trussing out character relations pictorially. She reminds me of some essays by Orhan Pamuk about his daughter, Rüya. It's not the stories themselves that are so thrilling, but the palpable feeling of love in their narrative arcs, plus the vectors they send out into Pamuk's novels, where characters seem to have little aspects or shimmers of Rüya (even if she wasn't born when the story was written): her young mind, her toys and delusions, the way she gazes out the window and finds it startlingly new every day.
JULIE BLACKMON: DOMESTIC VACATIONS Through May 23. Tues.-Sat., noon-5 p.m. SF Camerawork, 657 Mission, second floor, SF. (415) 512-2020. www.sfcamerawork.org
Most Commented On
- I went to college with some of them in the 80's - July 31, 2014
- We need to take action on - July 31, 2014
- Lilli, have you ever played any sports? - July 31, 2014
- Are you saying that we should expand our transit system? - July 31, 2014
- The city just needs to pick the money tree out back again. - July 31, 2014
- It isn't supposed to be an accurate - Joe Fitzgerald wrote it. - July 31, 2014
- Of course, while sending this - July 31, 2014
- I've come to think the ones who want to build in the park are - July 31, 2014
- Looks like a pretty responsible memo to me. - July 31, 2014
- You are totally miscategorizing the memo - July 31, 2014