Talent Show: Julie Blackmon’s Theatrical Photographs
There is a dreamlike quality to Julie Blackmon’s imagery. Children live, play, grow bored, make up stories, act them out and play some more, as if unaware of the camera, while the artist devises a tableau of domestic entropy. Blackmon says,“I compare [my work] sometimes to fiction and literature; sometimes the greatest truth can come out of fiction.”
Drawing influence from her own family life, the Dutch master Jan Steen and French modernist painter, Balthus, Blackmon creates photographs that have an air of a past era — perhaps the 1950’s or '60s — yet her use of 21st-century iconography, such as a perfectly placed iPhone recording a makeshift Talent Show, tells us that they are quite contemporary. Blackmon sets her scenes in familiar environments like a backyard bathing session or a fixer upper house and sometimes with multiple competing narratives at once. She focuses on children and families that are imbued with personality, yet overtaken by the haphazardness of child-rearing despite all the best-laid plans.
Julie Blackmon's "Talent Show" is now on view at Robert Mann Gallery in NYC.