The Dutch saying, “a Jan Steen household,” originated in the 17th century and has come to be used to refer to a home in disarray, full of rowdy children and boisterous family gatherings. The paintings of Steen, along with those of other Dutch and Flemish genre painters, are the direct inspiration behind the layered, domestic scenes of Blackmon’s work. Raised as the oldest of nine children, with three herself, Blackmon takes an approach to her work that is at once autobiographical and fictional. Blackmon sees life’s most poignant moments as a fusion of fantasy and reality, the mythic amidst chaos. Anne Wilkes Tucker of the Houston Museum of Fine Art has said of her work, “she’s taken a subject that is ripe for cliché—mother photographing children— and through the subtle, digital manipulations, the use of color and highly graphic images, she’s given it humor and edge and taken the subject somewhere fresh.”
About the Photographer
Julie Blackmon is an award-winning photographer who has amassed several honors since beginning her career just a few years ago. Her work is in the collections of the Kemper Museum of Art in Kansas City, the Toledo Museum of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Museum of Fine Arts in Houston, among others.
About the Author
Alison Nordström is the Curator of Photographs at George Eastman House International Museum of Photography and Film in Rochester, New York. Previously the Director and Senior Curator of the Southeast Museum of Photography in Daytona Beach, Florida, she has curated over one hundred photographic exhibitions including “Nervous Landscapes,” “Barbara Norfleet,” “Picturing Paradise,” “Voyages (per)Formed,” and the biennial, “Fresh Work.” She is the author of The Photograph as Madeleine: History, Memory, Visuality and Food in Setting the American Table and Making a Journey, in Photographs Objects Histories, as well as numerous articles in scholarly journals.