Julie Blackmon featured in DART

July 12, 2013

Poolside: Ozark, Missouri
By Julie Blackmon   Thursday July 11, 2013

Growing up in Misssouri, with its hot humid summers and the beach a thousand miles away, we often made do with swimming in stock tanks. You know, the things cattle drink out of. My aunt Polly even painted the bottom of hers blue to make it seem like a real pool. We spent hours a day as kids in these things, unaware there was any better place to be on a hot summer day.

This is a photo from last July, when we (including my sisters and their children) spent an afternoon at Polly’s house in Ozark, Missouri, swimming in the same stock tank we swam in as kids with our cousins. It was 102o F. that day. The milky water was a homemade chlorine mixture. Probably not pH-balanced—but good enough!

The Dutch saying “a Jan Steen household” originated in the 17th century and is used today to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, helped inspire this body of work. I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. Like Steen’s personal narratives of family life depicted nearly 400 years ago, the conflation of art and life is an area I have explored in photographing the everyday life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore fantastic elements, both imagined and real.— Julie Blackmon

Julie Blackmon’s work has been collected by the Microsoft Corporation, Redmond, WA; George Eastman House, NY; Musée Français de la Photographie; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; Toledo Museum of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, TX; Portland Art Museum, Portland, OR; C/O Berlin, Germany; Nelson-Atkins Museum of Art, Photographic Center Northwest, Seattle; and the Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago. In 2006 Julie received 1st place awards from the Santa Fe Center for Photography Project Commission and Photospiva, and was the 2006 Critical Mass Book Award winner. Julie Blackmon lives in Springfield, Missouri and is represented by G. Gibson Gallery, Seattle, where an exhibition of her work is on view through July 27. A monograph of her work, Domestic Vacations, was published in 2008 by Radius Books (now sold out).  By Peggy Roalf at DART