What is it like living with a photographer? Family members, children, spouses, partners, and friends – all those closest to an artist - often see every move or moment of their daily life turned into subject matter. Sometimes these subjects are willing participants, sometimes not. Some open up and give access to intimate situations; others withdraw, lose patience or remain altogether apathetic. The recorded moments can range from heroic life and death struggles to lighter, more quotidian passages of time; morning rituals, the gradual aging of a wife and child, sharing meals, birthday celebrations, arriving home from an afternoon at school.
Together these ordinary images demonstrate ‘sudden lightning flashes of significance’ - a phrase borrowed from writer Virgina Woolf’s 1919 essay, . In this critical essay on modern novels, Woolf suggests, “Let us not take it for granted that life exists more fully in what is commonly thought big than in what is commonly thought small.” The title of the exhibition is a nod to this line in Woolf’s essay, to the small, familiar moments that fill a day. The corresponding show aims to celebrate the nobility in examining everyday life, and illuminate the complexity and richness of human relationships.
The idea of photographing one’s family is not new, and there is a long history of photographers concerned with the private world of familial relationships and individuality, including Edward Steichen, Sally Mann, Emmet Gowin, Larry Sultan, Nan Goldin and Nicholas Nixon. The work by David Lebe, Harry Wilks, Thatcher Keats, Sabine Delafon and Allyson Levy on exhibit in Ordinary Things, continues in this tradition. It is exciting to make these discoveries and be able to show and make them available to our clients.
In many of the works on exhibit, there exists a pattern of sequential experiences; when viewed as a complete series, these works become fascinating studies of both portraiture and the passage of time. Each image in a series may capture something part ritual, part performance, part obsession, but their overall meaning is discovered only when considered in relation to one another. These photographs connect with us, the viewer/reader, almost instantly, causing us to reflect on our own changes and maturity. In the end, they serve to remind us of the common human experience of joy and suffering, loss and gain. To borrow once more from Ms. Woolf’s essay, “If we want life itself, here surely we have it.”
The exhibition will be accompanied by an illustrated catalog, available for purchase for $30.00. For more information, please contact the gallery at 518.828.7655 or email firstname.lastname@example.org.
Image: Harry Wilks, Selection from The Car Picture, 1987-2010/ongoing