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Indybay Feature


Thursday, April 02, 2009
5:00 PM - 8:00 PM
Event Type:
Chelsea Morse
657 Mission St
Location Details:
657 Mission Street, 2nd Floor
San Francisco, CA 94105

One of the Nation’s Top Photography Awards
Goes to San Francisco Photographer

Showing: April 2 – May 23, 2009
Opening Reception: Thursday, April 2nd

San Francisco, March 2009 – SF Camerawork surely has a full house this upcoming Spring 2009. With four artists, featured in three exhibits, opening simultaneously on April 2nd, the gallery is filled with a not-to-be-missed visual cornucopia of photography.

• Celebrating the work of Sean McFarland recipient of the 6th annual Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, and San Francisco’s first photographer to win this prestigious national award, SF Camerawork will feature McFarland’s series ‘Pictures of the Earth’ in the upcoming solo exhibit, Sean McFarland: The 2009 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers.

• In artist Julie Blackmon’s San Francisco debut exhibit, Domestic Vacations, images both grounded in 21st Century family life and referencing the domestic arena of 17th Century Dutch and Flemish paintings draw the viewer into a world of constructed fantasy where things never seem quite right.

• From fantasy to stark reality, guest curator David Spalding introduces the visually divergent works of two different generations of Chinese artists in Even in Arcadia. A selection of prints from Liu Gang’s series, Paper Dream (2008) & Wang Jianwei’s documentary video, Living Elsewhere offer two distinct but complimentary takes on how subjectivity is shaped by dreams of affluence and feelings of anomie.

Sean McFarland: The 2009 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers
Delicately manipulating imagery to create black and white Polaroid photographs that subtly explore ways in which our actions alter the natural landscape, McFarland’s photographs serve, he notes, as “witness to the landscape, showing its history, our trace in it, and admiring its beauty."

McFarland is the sixth recipient of The Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, one of the largest national awards available in photography, and the only award in the United States to single out ‘emerging’ photographers for support, Through the generosity of Glenn and April Bucksbaum of The Baum Foundation, this $10,000 cash grant honors a talented and innovative photographer at a pivotal moment in the development of his or her career, and as Sharon Tanenbaum, Executive Director of SF Camerawork notes, “We are delighted to host The Baum Award and thrilled that San Francisco resident Sean McFarland was chosen from an impressive group of nominees from across the country as the 2009 award recipient."

Domestic Vacations
Chaos, disorder, family gatherings, game playing...all of these scenarios dominate Domestic Vacations, a solo exhibition of Julie Blackmon’s recent series of color photographic prints. Like Alice in her wonderland, Blackmon's young subjects appear in reality and fantasy, engrossed in their created worlds. Blackmon, herself the oldest of nine children, balances her role as a mother of three and an artist by using her children, nieces, nephews, and friends as subjects in her images. Notes Blackmon, “These images are both fictional and auto-biographical, and reflect not only our lives today and as children growing up in a large family, but also move beyond the documentary to explore the fantastic elements of our everyday lives, both imagined and real.”

Even in Arcadia
Organized by guest-curator David Spalding, Curator at the Ullens Center for Contemporary Art (Beijing), the exhibition combines photography and a single video work, made roughly ten years apart, to examine the far-flung fantasies, grim realities and stark contradictions that often define life in China today.

A selection of prints from Liu Gang’s series, Paper Dream (2008), presents viewers with images appropriated from newspaper advertisements for upscale housing developments in Beijing. Shot with a macro lens in medium format (6 x 7), the images overflow with an absurd array of symbols that promise buyers a taste of the good life. Liu Gang’s series is not about luxury housing or the adverts that promote it per se. Instead, the artist remarks, “the works are about Chinese identity, as reflected in our dreams and desires.”

In contrast to the Photo-shopped follies in Liu Gang’s work, Wang Jianwei’s documentary video, Living Elsewhere (1997-1999), charts the daily existence of a group of farmers squatting in an abandoned complex of half-finished luxury villas in Sichuan Province. Documenting the stories of persons who are otherwise off the grid, Wang Jianwei focuses on the details of their domestic experience to comment on the schisms between luxury and poverty, aspiration and actuality that are symptomatic of the economic and social transformation China continues to experience.

About 2009 Baum Award:
Glenn and April Bucksbaum of The Baum Foundation established The Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers in 2001. The 2009 Award winner, Sean McFarland, was unanimously selected by a panel of jurors that included Vince Aletti, independent curator and photography critic, The New Yorker magazine; Pamela M. Lee, associate professor in the department of art and art history, Stanford University; Chuck Mobley, curator, SF Camerawork; Larry Sultan, artist and professor of photography, California College of the Arts; Lisa Sutcliffe, assistant curator of photography, San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Previous award winners include Deborah Luster (2001), Luis Gispert (2003), Katy Grannan (2004), Lisa Kereszi (2005), and Mike Brodie (2008).

Support for The Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers and for the accompanying exhibition has been provided by The Baum Foundation.


For More Exhibit Information or Images Contact:
Wendy Norris, Norris Communications
(415) 307-3853
wendy [at]

About SF Camerawork
Founded in 1974, SF Camerawork encourages emerging and mid-career artists to explore new directions in photography and related media by fostering creative forms of expression that push existing boundaries. Throughout its history, SF Camerawork has nurtured artists, mentored youth and helped make San Francisco a destination for the exploration of photography as an artist’s medium. Its exhibitions are nationally recognized as a focal point for innovation, a pacesetter for new trends in the medium and a launching pad for the careers of young artists. With three galleries and an education center at its new centrally located facility, SF Camerawork is the only non-profit organization in the Bay Area with an exhibition space and educational programs focused exclusively on contemporary photography and related visual image media. It is an accessible venue for people to view exhibitions, meet artists, participate in educational programs, peruse photographic publications, and gather for lectures, screenings, portfolio reviews, and discussions.

All exhibitions are on view Tuesday – Saturday 12-5 p.m.
SF Camerawork, 657 Mission St., 2ndFloor
Admission is $5.00; $2.00 for students and seniors; free to Camerawork members

For more public information, visit or call 415.512.2020
Added to the calendar on Sat, Mar 14, 2009 3:26PM
§Even in Arcadia
by Chelsea Morse
§Baum Award Winner Sean McFarland
by Chelsea Morse
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