Close to Home @ Shulamit Nazarian, Los Angeles
March 2 - April 6, 2019
Erica Deeman, Mark McKnight, Eva O’Leary, and Larry Sultan
Opening: Saturday, March 2, 2019, 6-9pm
Regular hours: Tuesday–Saturday, 10am–6pm
Shulamit Nazarian is proud to present, Close to Home, a group exhibition of four photographers that mine their personal experiences–past and present–to express moments of intimacy within larger social and political structures. Engaging with the deep and complicated history of photographic portraiture, each artist renders his or her subjects in part as extensions of themselves, coded with personal and cultural references.
Pioneering photographer, Larry Sultan, seamlessly weaves fact and fiction, creating narrative possibilities that charge domestic familiarity with artifice. Sultan explores the deeply personal, while utilizing both documentary and staged photography to create surreal and psychological spaces that speak to intimacy and power within suburban family life – creating images often captured near the artist’s hometown in the San Fernando Valley.
Eva O’Leary has been producing photographs in and around her hometown of Central Pennsylvania, ironically nicknamed Happy Valley. Gaining access to college parties, dorm rooms, and proms and other social spaces of those in the midst of pivotal coming of age moments, O’Leary examines individual vulnerability in these transitional times. Her work explores intimate moments to deftly confront power dynamics as it falls along gendered lines, especially within the lives of adolescents.
Erica Deeman’s Brown series is a collection of medium format photographs that depict individual African American men, rendered shirtless in front of a brown backdrop that matches the color of the artist’s own skin. Injecting her own presence in the portrait of others, these deceptively straightforward images provide a foil for the deleterious tropes of black male portraiture—particularly images affiliated with the practice of physiognomy and mug shots. Her subject’s gazes are quiet, vulnerable, and self-aware, carrying the power and weight of the photographic history and lineage that she is acutely referencing.
Mark McKnight’s black and white photographs depict the human figure and the landscape with congruence. Often rendering the bodies of queer friends and lovers, McKnight carefully depicts the effects of entropy on the human form and pairs it with similar scares found on architecture, urban spaces, and the landscape. Situated between documentary and the surreal, McKnight’s photographs imply an erotic, yet brutal psychological space, informed by his personal relationships.