ROSEGALLERY is pleased to present Domestic Fictions: A Life Less Ordinary, a focused curation of staged photographs by Jo Ann Callis, Bruce Charlesworth, and Mary Frey. A throwback to the charged, introspective themes of MoMA’s 1991 group show Pleasures and Terrors of Domestic Comfort, the exhibition will open on the 19th of November, 2022, and will be on view until the 14th of January, 2023.
“Home became… a place where others judged your worth as a homemaker and a wife, even as a person. Home became a container for never quite measuring up.” — from “The Home In My Head” by Jennifer A. Watts.
Curator Peter Galassi — who was promoted to head of the Department of Photography during its remarkable run — stated in MoMA’s 1991 press release that artists, “began to photograph at home not because it was important, in the sense that political issues are important, but because it was there—the one place that is easier to get to than the street.” But don’t let his understatement fool you: these were not convenient photos. By playing with thematic poles, for instance, situating the blatantly contrived beside the rigorously documentarian, audiences were drawn deeper and deeper into the real or imagined drama of the subjects. This non-sociological, non-objective perspective (instilled by the sheer number of artists, some 70-plus) moved beyond a representation of home life as expected, suggesting instead the interior state of being at home.
So now, ROSEGALLERY pays humble homage to Galassi, exhibiting works from a trio of artists who all contributed to his luminary-laden group show. Callis’ close-up photos of her own fastidiously-crafted tiny furniture pieces fetishizes the banality of “interior design,” playing with lighting, shadow, perspective and textures to elicit sublime reaction. While Callis tends to reduce to form, blur mysteriously, or even omit the human subject entirely, Frey reverses this process, instead producing “staged” documentarian photos, so tender, so emotive, the uninitiated would assume Reality was forever and always an extenuation of the frame. And while Callis and Frey conceal their staged quality, Charlesworth pushes this technique out the window, per se, electing for extreme-lighting, steep contrasts, and unreal saturations to instantly signal his human subjects have broken from the Real, instead habituating themselves in unnerving limbo.
According to Galassi, these artists stood out at the time by “reworking the domestic cliches of popular imagery” to “examine the role of the mass media in shaping private lives.” MoMA ‘91 was nothing shy of a prophetic anticipation of today’s self-curated blur, a blur so willing to strip us of privacy itself. But what of that? ROSEGALLERY graciously invites contemporary audiences to pause and wonder: what does domesticity actually feel like? What marvels and phobias inhabit all those private lives behind the stream of images we do or don’t see on the regular?
Jo Ann Callis has been widely exhibited at the Museum of Modern Art, New York; Los Angeles County Museum of Art; Hammer Museum; the
Museum of Contemporary Art, Los Angeles; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.
Bruce Charlesworth is represented in the permanent collections of both the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art in
New York, the Fundação de Serralves in Oporto, the Minneapolis Institute of Arts, the Baltimore Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston.
Mary Frey is part of many public and private collections, including the Museum of Modearn Art, New York; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; the
Chicago Art Institute, and the International Polaroid Collection.
2525 Michigan Ave b7, Santa Monica, CA 90404, United States
November 19, 2022 to January 14, 2023