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Julie Blackmon
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Amy Montali
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Springfield, MO

Julie Blackmon’s arrangements of multiple figures swirl with the energy of a full-house and celebrate fantasy amid everyday life. Many of the scenes are set in her own home, with any of her family acting as models. If one “performer” is not as she wishes, she photographs them separately or adjusts them digitally, crafting her composition much like a canvas. Appearing at once both contemporary and timeless, her beautifully-lit subjects and surroundings create an environment that verges on the fantastic, replete with diminishing Renaissance perspective and Vermeer-like checkered floors.

Born in Springfield, MO, Blackmon pursued studies in art education and photography at Missouri State University. She has received several national awards for her work, including commendation in the 2004 Santa Fe Center of Photography Project Competition (Santa Fe, NM) and a merit award from the Society of Contemporary Photography (Kansas City, MO). Her exhibitions include a solo show at Blue Sky Gallery (Portland, OR) and group shows at venues such photo-eye Gallery (Santa Fe, NM) and the Museum of Contemporary Photography (Chicago, IL).

Artist Statement

I am the oldest of nine children and now the mother of three. In these photographs, I have explored the life of my family and the lives of my sisters and their families at home. These images are not documentary, but, in various ways, a re-creation of everyday moments that reflect not only our lives today, but as children growing up in a large family.

The stress, the chaos, and the need to simultaneously escape and connect are issues that I investigate in this body of work. I believe there are little sanctuaries that can be found throughout any given day, no matter how ordinary, that reveal meaning. It is in finding these moments amidst the stress of everyday that my life as a mother parallels my work as an artist. The struggle between living in the moment versus escaping to another reality is intense, as these two opposites strive to dominate. As an artist and as a mother, I believe life's most poignant moments come from the ability to fuse fantasy and reality: to see the mythic amidst the chaos.

- Julie Blackmon