Robert Mann Gallery is pleased to announce Free Range, Julie Blackmonʼs third solo exhibition with
the gallery. Blackmonʼs recent body of work, which includes new images that will debut at the
exhibition, juxtaposes an enduring sense of nostalgia with keenly contemporary details to twist the
artistʼs signature sly wit into strange, wry, and whimsical stories of family life. Coinciding with the
release of her new book,Homegrown, the exhibition opening on September 4th will be accompanied
by a book signing.
While Blackmonʼs work has always eschewed the overly sentimental or saccharine, several of her
recent pictures delve further into darkness. Set in the same cavernous house against dark-red walls,
Hair and Dress Rehearsal invoke shades of the sublime as children dance in garish black costumes or
hide, only limbs or eyes visible, behind bannisters and doors. Works like Chaise and The Hamster
Handbook take the opposite approach, forming dreamscapes of childhood summers through filtered
sunlight and suburban backyards. As always, however, quotidian quips peek through. Barbie parts lie
scattered on Hairʼs hardwood floor, and the titular Handbook lies amongst toilet paper rolls and repurposed
doll furniture in a hamsterʼs homemade fort.
Other images are more direct pokes at our consumer culture. Thin Mints depicts a Girl Scout troop in
an Abbey Road-like line eagerly delivering boxes of the eponymous cookies, a wailing younger sister
in the back red wagon having apparently overindulged. One of Blackmonʼs very newest works, New
Chair, is a glib ode to material improvement (direct from FedEx). Yet like all works in Free Range, there
is a particular poignancy to the image as well. One young child stands protectively—and protected—
behind the dingy old dinosaur, an overstuffed armchair with a “$20” sign scratched on scrap paper.
Hair may grow, logos updated, furniture replaced: things change, yet childhood remains touchingly,
hilariously, much the same.
Julie Blackmon lives and works in Springfield, Missouri. The artistʼs work is included in numerous
museums and public collections including that of the George Eastman House; Nelson Atkins Museum
of Art; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; Kemper Museum of Contemporary Art, Kansas City; the
Portland Art Museum; and the Musée Français de la Photographie in Bièvres, France. She was named
American Photo's "Emerging Photographer of 2008" and one of PDN's "30 New and Emerging
Photographers" in 2007, and has been the recipient of various awards including first prize from The
Santa Fe Center for Photography in the Project Competition in 2006.
Julie Blackmon: Homegrown, published by Radius Books and Robert Mann Gallery, includes an
introduction by celebrated poet Billy Collins and a conversation between Blackmon and Academy
Award-winning actress Reese Witherspoon. The monograph contains 40 color images of works by the
artist dating from 2009 - 2014.
View Julie Blackmon: Free Range at www.robertmann.com beginning September 4, 2014.