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The Home Front by Ken Graves reviewed by Adam Bell

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

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

Martin Parr News, Winter 2015-2016

Added on by ROSEGALLERY.

ROSEGALLERY artist Martin Parr is busy at work with a number of projects this winter. Here are just a few of the highlights:

The Rhubarb Triangle and Other Stories
The Hepworth Wakefield, UK
4 February to 12 June 2016

Martin Parr , from the series  The Rhubarb Triangle

Martin Parr, from the series The Rhubarb Triangle

The Hepworth Wakefield commissioned Martin to document the Rhubarb Triangle. To coincide with the opening of the exhibition, The Hepworth Wakefield will publish the book The Rhubarb Triangle. The monograph, available in February, includes all the Rhubarb Triangle images that will appear in the show as well as text written by Susie Parr.
Further details here

Strange and Familiar 
Barbican, London, UK
16 March to 19 June 2016

Evelyn Hofer ,  Couple, Wales , 1965

Evelyn Hofer, Couple, Wales, 1965

The show at the Barbican, curated by Martin, considers how international photographers from the 1930s onwards have captured the social, cultural and political identity of the UK. 

From social documentary and portraiture to street and architectural photography, the exhibition celebrates the work of leading photographers, including Bruce Davidson and Evelyn Hofer. Bringing together compelling photographs and previously unseen bodies of work, Strange and Familiar presents a vibrant portrait of modern Britain.
Further details here 

Protest: Latin American Photobooks
Tate Modern, London, UK

Sergio Larrain , Spread from  In the 20th Century , 1965

Sergio Larrain, Spread from In the 20th Century, 1965

On display at the Tate Modern is a selection of Martin’s photobooks reflecting an era of political conflict and social unrest across Latin America.
Further details here