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Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988–2008

Sat Sep 4 2010 – Sun Feb 27 2011

Seattle Art Museum

Third Floor Galleries

Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988–2008 offers a twenty-year survey of Blakemore’s work, ranging from her black-and-white street photographs of the late 1980s to her recent portraits and landscapes. Originally rooted in documentary traditions, Blakemore has compared the activity of photography to the process of gathering broken bits and lost objects discovered serendipitously during long walks.

Blakemore’s work is in part defined by her embrace of idiosyncratic, low-tech cameras that have a limited focal range, allowing an unpredictable degree of incident to enter into her compositions. At the same time, her compositions are rigorously composed, and through masterly printing techniques she brings out a remarkably nuanced palette, whether working in black and white or in color.

Blakemore’s recent photographs concentrate on the figure, whether randomly captured or formally posed. What remains tantalizing throughout her work is the sense of interrupted and incomplete narrative. What at a glance may appear to be a banal mise en scène on closer examination is revealed as a mysterious and psychologically penetrating view of the world we live in.

Amy Blakemore: Photographs 1988–2008 is curated by Alison de Lima Greene, curator of contemporary art and special projects at the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. The presentation encompasses forty photographs and is accompanied by a fully illustrated catalogue distributed by Yale University Press. In addition to Alison Greene, contributors to the catalogue include Chrissie Iles, Anne Wilkes Tucker, and Marisa C. Sánchez.

—Marisa C. Sánchez, Assistant Curator of Modern & Contemporary Art

This exhibition was organized by the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston. Additional support for the Seattle presentation was provided by individual donors.

Steph, 1995, Amy Blakemore, American, b. 1958, chromogenic photograph, Courtesy of the artist and Inman Gallery, Houston, © Amy Blakemore