Rodolphe Janssen | Lucas Blalock

Lucas Blalock

Lucas Blalock: Imperfect Grace

Reality is always a partially cloaked thing: the some of sociopolitical structures and strictures, the warp and weft of interpersonal dynamics, and so on. It is created largely through instances of alchemy that evade the realm of the visual, in which photography traffics. Attempts to touch something of the real through photography, to extend the medium beyond its doglike loyalty to the indexical, can nevertheless be made; this is where art comes in.

In the face of the failures of representation, as Bertolt Brecht once claimed, “what we actually need is to ‘construct something,’ something ‘artificial,’ ‘posed.’ “We need, in other words, to create a form of what might be termed “constructed representation” - aligned with Brecht’s theatrical techniques of alienation, which call attention to the workings of the theatrical apparatus in order to provide the audience a space for intellectual analysis of the events onstage. This constructed representation exists in opposition to the smooth, consumable forms of representation associated with the spectacle. It is rough; it produces friction.

Consider, in this context, Lucas Blalock’s use of Photoshop. He’s horrible at it. Or so he’d have you believe: you can follow all his technical steps; they are ham-fisted. But these bald-faced moves stand in direct contradiction to the standard, seamless operations of digital legerdemain that are designed to fade into the background of the collective dream worlds fashioned for us by advertising executives and other promoters of the spurious and the seductive. The mechanisms of the digital are here laid bare, allowing us to see them for what they are: cheap tricks. But to shine light on this reality, which can be seen as a kind of critique, is not to identify what’s at the bottom of the well.

Blalock’s photographs are awkward. They trip themselves up, cross their own wires, scramble their own energies. They are not “well done.” But of course most things aren't. We live amid a profusion of the jury-rigged and the half-baked, those thoughts and objects that are at best nice tries, tries, but never successes. Like most things pathetic, however, there is also a sweetness about Blalock’s pictures, a certain imperfect grace that exists at cross-purposes with their atmosphere of failure. They recall the writer Donald Barthelem's memorable remark on accuracy in his fiction. “The confusing signals, the impurity of the signal,” he observed, “gives you verisimilitude. As when you attend a funeral and notice, against your will, that it’s being poorly done.” Above and beyond critique, Blalock's photographs carve out an idiosyncratic form of photographic realism, on the that moves beyond the merely depictive and into a more direct realm of representation: the embodied.

Chris Wiley in Aperture, Issue 208, Fall 2012

BIOGRAPHY

Born in 1978, Asheville, NC USA

Lives and works in New York, NY USA

Education

2013

MFA, UCLA, Los Angeles, CA USA

2011

Skowhegan School of Painting and Sculpture, Skowhegan, ME USA

2002

BA, Photography, Bard College, Annandale-on-Hudson, NY USA

Solo Exhibitions

2016

Low Comedy, Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

2015

A Farmer’s Knowledge, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium

2014

Lucas Blalock: Late Work, White Flag Projects, Saint Louis, MO USA

2013

Inside the White Cube, White Cube, London, UK

Assisted Camera, Peder Lund, Oslo, Norway

Id, Ed, Ad, Od, Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

2011

xyz, Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

Group Exhibitions

2017

You Are Looking At Something That Never Occurred, The Zabludowicz Collection, London, UK

Homo Mundus Minor, T293, Rome, Italy

Commercial Break, Public Art Fund, New York, NY USA

2016

Trans-Dimensional, Aichi Trienniale 2016, Aichi, Japan

C.Ar.D: Contemporary Art and Design 2016, Pianello Val Tidone , Italy

Fabulous Failures (curated by Erik Kessels), Rencontres d'Arles, Arles, France

A Modest Proposal, Hauser & Wirth New York, New York, NY USA

See Sun, And Think Shadow, Barbara Gladstone, New York, NY

Good Dreams, Bad Dreams - American Mythologies (curated by Massimiliano Gioni), Aïshti Foundation, Beirut, Lebanon

Ordinary Pictures, Walker Art Center, Minneapolis, MN USA

The 5th of July, Atlanta Contemporary, Atlanta, GA USA

Image Support, Bergen Kunsthall, Bergen, Norway

2015

Ocean of Images: New Photography 2015, Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY USA USA

Part Pictures, Curated by Chris Wiley, Museum of Contemporary Canadian Art (MOCCA), Toronto, Canada

Perfect Likeness : Photography and Composition, Hammer Museum, Los Angeles, CA USA

Give a man a mask and he will tell you the truth – Oscar Wilde, Galerie Rodolphe Janssen, Brussels, Belgium

Walks and displacements, Andrew Kreps Gallery, New York, NY USA

Camera of Wonders, Centro de la Imagen, Mexico City, Mexico

Reconstructions: Recent Photographs and Video from the Met Collection, Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York, NY USA

The Pure Products of America / Go Crazy, (curated by Joshua Chuang), Center for Creative Photography, Tucson, AZ USA

2014

Tongue Mops and Bunny Pictures, Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

Fixed Variable, Hauser & Wirth, New York, NY USA

Never Enough: Recent Acquisitions of Contemporary Art, Dallas Museum of Art, Dallas, TX USA

Rites of Spring (curated by Dean Daderko), Contemporary Arts Museum Houston, Houston, TX USA

Depression, François Ghebaly Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA

2013

Time Machine, M-ARCO, Marseille, France

Lens Drawings (curated by Jens Hoffmann), Marian Goodman Gallery, Paris, France

Made In Space (curated by Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens), Gavin Brown’s enterprise & Venus Over Manhattan, New York, NY USA

Of Love, Pain, and Passioned Revolt. (Then Farewell, My Beloved, ‘til It’s Freedom Day), ZERO…, Milano, Italy

Camp Paradox Days, Rosenwald-Wolf Gallery, University of the Arts, Philadelphia, PA USA

B.B.S.Q, Wallspace Gallery, New York, NY USA

Made In Space (curated by Peter Harkawik and Laura Owens), Night Gallery, Los Angeles, CA USA

New Pictures of Common Objects (curated by Christopher Y. Lew), MoMA PS1, Queens, NY USA

2012

Coquilles mécaniques (curated by Joanna Fiduccia), Crac Alsace, Alt kirch, France

It’s When It’s Gone That You Really Notice It, Simone Subal Gallery, New York, NY USA

Mexico City Blues (curated by Chris Sharp), Shanaynay, Paris, France

Lucie Fontaine : Estate, 2012, Marianne Boesky Gallery, New York, NY USA

Formwandler, Richard Telles Fine Art, Los Angeles, CA USA

second nature: abstract photography then and now, deCordova Sculpture Park and Museum, Lincoln, MA USA

Towards a Warm Math (curated by Chris Wiley), On Stellar Rays, New York, NY USA

Photography Is, Higher Pictures, New York, NY USA

2011

Talent, Foam Photography Museum Annex, Amsterdam, The Netherlands

Wax Apple, Bodega, Philadelphia, PA USA

Chinese Take-Out, New Commissions Program, Art In General, New York, NY USA

Lucas Blalock and Jessica Eaton, Contact Gallery, Toronto, Canada

WIN LAST DON’T CARE, Ramiken, New York, NY USA

2010

Mouthful of Poison, Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

Things Just Aren’t The Way They Used To Be (curated by Beth Camp bell), Kate Werble Gallery, New York, NY USA

New Genre Pictures, Flanders Gallery, Raleigh, NC USA

Green Honey (curated by Andrea Cashman and Borden Capalino), Ramiken Crucible, New York, NY USA

Self Publish, Be Happy, Photographers’ Gallery, London, UK

50 Artists Photograph the Future, curated by Dean Daderko, Higher Pictures, New York, NY USA

Use Me Abuse Me, curated by Erik Kessels, Photo Festival, Smack Melon, BK, NY USA