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The Home Front by Ken Graves reviewed by Adam Bell

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The Home Front
Reviewed by Adam Bell

The Home Front
Photographs by Kenneth Graves 
Mack, London, England, 2015. 80 pp., 45 black and white illustrations, 9x6¾".

As a formative moment in the lives of American Baby Boomers, the Vietnam-era has been endlessly paraded in popular visual culture for decades — hippies, Flower Power, rock concerts, protests, political scandals and assassinations. Given the well-trod visual record of the mid-60s to early-70s, it’s rare to find photographic work that offers a fresh and unique perspective of the turbulent era. Focusing on city streets, public fairgrounds, and suburban cul-de-sacs, Kenneth Graves’ The Home Front offers a humorous and playful look at San Francisco during the war. Eschewing the expected, Graves reveals moments of absurdity, pointed sociological detail and whimsical formal delights. Brilliantly designed to resemble a dossier or report, the manila Swiss-bound book is an absurdist sociological missive — part Garry Winogrand and part Eugene Ionesco.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

From the cover image of two men frozen and bewildered on an empty sidewalk to the closing image of a couple, whose heads are cut off by the kitchen cabinets, kissing over an empty array of dinner ware, Graves delights in the absurdities of the banal. Men and women are caught wearing silly costumes or contorted in odd poses. Legs jut inwards from outside the frame or up from behind beds, and heads peer in through windows or emerge from the foreground. While there is humor and oddity in the moments Graves captures, he steers clear of simple or mean-spirited visual puns. Instead, he is sympathetic observer who highlights our common frailty, solitude and anxieties. Continually directing our eye to poignant and absurd tableaux, Graves’ dynamic framing gives a sense that theatrics surround and circle us daily.

The Home Front . By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

The Home Front. By Kenneth Graves. Mack, 2015.

Yet beneath the absurdity, there is a lingering anxiety. Like Tod Papageorge’s American Sports, 1970: or, How We Spent the War in Vietnam, the book offers a pointed look at America society and the simmering political climate in the late 60s and early 70s. Although he enlisted in the Navy as a young man, Graves was no hippie and does not wear his politics on his sleeve. He would likely bristle at the moniker of a ‘concerned photographer,’ but his work exudes a subtle politics that both celebrates and critiques what he sees and captures. Over the course of Grave’s work from the mid-60s to 70s, the Vietnam War expanded into Cambodia and Laos. All the while, the American bodies kept coming home. Simmering below the surface, the war played out at home. Men in uniform stand silent and sullen, bearing the burden of their obligation both at home and abroad, while others simply carry on, raising their children or going to the county fair. In the opening image, we see Graves’ daughter or that of one of his peers standing in a corner and measuring herself with a ruler that bears Graves’ name. In another, a man leans back to watch a trapeze act in the distance. His balding head is thrust in our face. These moments of levity are balanced with more poignant ones like that of a legless man, likely a veteran, who peers into a military themed arcade game named Texas Ranger Gatling Gun. Gazing intently through the viewfinder, he shoots down his imaginary enemies again and again. 


Read more at: Photo-Eye

Art Daily: Exhibition of Processed-based Photographs opens at ROSEGALLERY

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Art Daily highlights our exhibition Her First Meteorite: Volume 2 on Sunday, December 13, 2015.

Dirk Braeckman, born in Eeklo, Belgium, was educated at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, with a focus in photography and film.

Dirk Braeckman, born in Eeklo, Belgium, was educated at the Koninklijke Academie voor Schone Kunsten, Ghent, with a focus in photography and film.

SANTA MONICA, CA.ROSEGALLERY presents the second installment of Her First Meteorite. A selection of process based photographs that feature the work of seven artists: Dirk Braeckman, James Gallagher, Melinda Gibson, Ken Graves, Yoko Kanayama, Summer Mann and Sebastian Riemer, accompanied by a selection of Civil War tintypes. The exhibition is on view from 12 December 2015 through 13 February 2016. 

To read the entirety of the article here.

 

Source: http://artdaily.com/news/83603/Exhibition-...

Visual Art Source Editorial Review of “Her First Meteorite”

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Recommendation by: Jody Zellen/Simone Kussatz

James Gallagher, "Nictoine F," 2012, unique photo collage, 12 x 9"

James Gallagher, "Nictoine F," 2012, unique photo collage, 12 x 9"

Continuing through November 28, 2015

The physical space of the gallery undergoes quite a change for its current show “Her First Meteorite” that features seven artists, including Carolle Benitah, James Gallagher, Melinda Gibson, Ken Graves, Stephanie Solinas, Annegret Soltau and Grete Stern. The gallery space has been intelligently reconfigured for the viewing of these intimate works via the suspension of hanging shad-like panels that create a narrow corridor through which the viewer traverses. The panels have strategically placed holes, like those found on construction sites, making it possible to see across and into the middle of the space. The works hung on the wall or placed on a shelf demand to be carefully scrutinized.

 

- See more at: VisualArtSource