The family snapshots of Tierney Gearon have only recently come to the attention of the artworld through her significant presence in the ‘I Am A Camera’ exhibition at the Saatchi Gallery in London in spring 2001, but her work has a strength and conviction that belies her newcomer status.
ACE Gallery wishes to announce an exhibition of photographs of a new body of work by Tierney Gearon entitled Explosure. This will be her first solo exhibition on the West Coast, containing approximately thirty works. Gearon is known for her deeply personal and autobiographical photographs. She not only shoots subjects that are familiar to her but she refers to her work in intimate terms, explaining that the discipline of photography has been a cathartic “way of processing issues.” In previous projects, Gearon has used the camera’s lens to expose private moments in her young family’s life (I am Camera, 2001) and to document the intense relationship she has with her mother (The Mother Project, completed in 2006).
In Explosure Gearon continues these personal investigations, again photographing at home and on family trips to upstate New York, India, Italy, and South Africa. But instead of taking single shots she creates surprising, chance-narratives using the classic technique of double exposure in camera that she then prints without retouching or post work. By superimposing two, quite unrelated images into one, she invents scenes that are startling, surreal, and engaging yet also fleeting and ephemeral. They are vastly different in character from all of her previous photographs in that they present a multi-dimensional (sometimes kaleidoscopic) view of Gearon’s world that challenges perceptions of time, scale, and space. Her method of composing creates, within each work, contrasts of settings and the juxtaposing of themes.
In one of the photographs, for instance, Gearon’s daughter lies in a stream of rushing water that seems to flow through a rural, snowy landscape. What could have been two independent and ordinary snapshots taken on a summer and a winter vacation now conjure an original, unanticipated, story. The girl seems to bask in a hostile environment (utterly immune to the freezing cold) and isolated from her surroundings. Upon closer scrutiny, one realizes that the image of the stream occupies what is a roadbed in the landscape so the sunbather languishes in eminent danger of on-coming traffic.
Because Gearon’s complex, layered compositions simultaneously capture elements taken at different times and places, they subvert the conventional idea that a photograph represents just one instance. She evokes the chaos of life, exploits the allowed unpredictability of photography, and distills the “organized accidents” that result from her unusual approach to picture-making.
Tierney Gearon was born in Atlanta, Georgia in 1963. She attended the University of Utah. Gearon is best known for her highly acclaimed and publicized work shown at the Saatchi Gallery in 2001 (I am a Camera). In 2006, her second major body of work, The Mother Project, became the subject of a documentary film and a book of the exhibition, Daddy, where are you?, published later that year (Steidl Publishers).