Julie Blackmon shared with us her two newest images: Fake Weather and Trapped.
Fake Weather is the more comical of the two, the kids’ faces flaunting Julie’s skill of direction. It’s Christmas in July, or an unseasonably warm winter (not unlike what we experienced in Chicago this year).
As evidenced by the signs in this garage, Trapped hearkens to the distress felt by much of the country during and after the U.S. 2016 presidential election. Multiple skateboards, an energy drink, and the lone hand etching a lewd word across the door’s four windows hint at the extent to which the current political climate affects even young members of her community.
Those familiar with Julie’s work will recognize the Midwest domesticity as well as her children, siblings’ children, and the children of friends and neighbors. Blackmon, herself the oldest of nine children, balances her role as a mother of three and an artist, referencing family life and the circumstances it creates. Chaos, disorder, fantasies, social gatherings, game playing, all of these scenarios continue to dominate Blackmon’s work, which we first witnessed in her series, Domestic Vacations (Radius Books, 2009). Elegance, triumphs, dangers and solace mix with fantasy, where nothing is quite as it seems. Like Alice in her wonderland, Blackmon’s children appear in reality and fantasy, engrossed in their fictitious worlds.
Influenced by Jan Steen and 17th c. Dutch paintings, Blackmon also credits Edward Gorey, Tim Burton and Federico Fellini, who stated, “the things that are most real to me are the ones that I invented… even lies are interesting, eloquent and revealing, just as much as what is considered the truth.” By looking at her family through the lens of fiction, Blackmon reveals her own truth and one that seems to resonate with audiences’ worldwide.
Since 2005, Julie Blackmon has received overwhelming critical acclaim. Her works are part of numerous collections, including The Museum of Fine Arts (Houston, TX), George Eastman House International Museum of Photography (Rochester, NY), Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art (Kansas City, MO), Columbus Museum of Art (Columbus, OH), Cleveland Museum of Art and The Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL). Her newest book Homegrown is available from Radius Books.