Fake Weather is a series of new works by Julie Blackmon. Again here, she focuses on the social, cultural and familial, but also the tumultuous political landscape of the United States. Themes that have challenged Blackmon to turn her eye to the political world for the first time, and the results make an impact.
“When I began taking pictures,” Julie Blackmon says, “I was primarily interested in documenting the lives of my five sisters and myself as we raised families in the Ozarks in the 21st century. My goal was to capture the mythical in the ordinary, and I gradually began introducing narrative strands into the photos, hoping to create visual fables that reflected deeper truths. I wanted to explore and critique the way we live today, so there have always been snakes lurking in the backyard gardens of my imagination—someone once told me that my work was one part Norman Rockwell and one part Norman Bates.”
On view at Robert Mann Gallery in New York, Blackmon’s latest works retain her signature combination of compelling visual allure and subtly off-kilter incidents—in some cases with a more serious edge, as the artist probes the fever dreams of a restless nation. Still hewing to her deliberately restricted, yet ever expressive, palette of subjects—jungle-gym jealousies, yard-sale intrigues and sibling smackdowns—Blackmon finds ample room to explore political developments.
The title piece of the exhibition, Fake Weather, provokes an immediate laugh with its portrait of two reluctant, exacerbated subjects. But it also comments on the nation’s temperature—as both its climate and politics heat up—and responds to a time in which obvious realities are described as false. Finally, with a sly wink at the audience, the artist reveals the backstage mechanisms that give shape to her visions.
Julie Blackmon, Fake Weather
October 19 – December 2, 2017
Robert Mann Gallery
525 West 26th Street
New York, NY 10001