San Francisco: Fraenkel Gallery, 2007. Folio. Original wraps.
[50pp.]. Large fromat 23 color plates.
15 x 12 in. Unused.
Katy Grannan's color portraits depict subjects the artist describes as "new pioneers," Northern Californians who struggle to define themselves under the scrutiny of relentless sunlight. California serves as both a literal and metaphorical backdrop for Grannan's new photographs. It is a mythical destination and a real end-point where sunshine illuminates both the abject and the joyful.
In The Westerns, Grannan explores the uneasy relationship between fixed photographic portraiture and her subjects' mercurial identities. The photographs are replete with ambiguity and contradiction: they are evidence of an invented, unknowable self, confronting inescapable photographic description.
Katy Grannan (b. 1969, Arlington, Massachusetts) was first recognized in 1998 for an intimate series of portraits of strangers she met through newspaper advertisements. Grannan worked for years throughout the northeast and produced several different series entitled Poughkeepsie Journal, Morning Call, Sugar Camp Road, and Mystic Lake, each referring to a local newspaper source or secluded location. Grannan's process and the consequent images are informed by her own childhood in the American northeast. Each photograph is imbued with secrecy, desire, and hidden intentions.
With her move to California in 2006, Grannan photographed "new pioneers," people who, like herself, encountered something very different from the mythological "West" with its promise of eternal summer and personal reinvention. Instead, these new settlers face the end of a continent and the potential for failure as they struggle to define themselves under the scrutiny of the relentless Western sunlight. The Westerns explores the relationship between aspiration and delusion - where our shared desire to be of worth, to be paid some attention - confronts the uneasy prospect of anonymity. Item #51-3036