Ordinary Life is Good Enough: Larry Glawson’s Home Bodies

“In the exhibition, “Home Bodies,” Glawson employs photography, in conjunction with a performative installation, to interpret the holding environment he knows best - the domestic life he and his partner Doug Melnyk have built together, a collaboration that spans 29 years, seven apartment suites and the lives of numerous animal companions. A conceptually and logistically ambitious project, “home bodies” interrogates the practices of both photography and curatino even as it makes complex the representation of gay identity.
For this project, which was an offsite exhibition sponsored by PLATFORM centre for photographic + digital arts, Glawson chose to work with a temporary exhibition space, a vacant storefront that served as a harness and saddlery warehouse in 1903 and, more recently, as a site for fim shoots and artists’ projects. Using the building’s abject beauty, expansive space, crumbling architectural details and idiosyncrasies to full advantage, Glawson constructed an installation that changed more or less daily with the addition and relocation of images and videos - and documented it all as it unfolded. We witness Glawson simultaneously performing the role of subject (model), artist, archivist, curator and documenter. In other words, we see the very practice of photography laid bare (and by extension, that of curation, which bears an uncanny relationship to photography - but that’s a story for another time).”

“There are many photographs worthy of individual attention. I’m particularly partial to a large, breathtakingly sensual color image of Doug and Larry eating pomegranates at a table in a room aglow with orange-red light. The couple sits beneath a circular mirror surrounded by a ring of dancing dollar-store skeletons (death makes frequent appearances in this body of work). The tools of their trade - a camera and art supplies - rest on the table beside them. The image implicitly references Van Gogh’s potatoe eaters, evoking humble lives beset by economic precarity. The exotic fruit hints at the occasional luxuries available even to the working poor in an affluent society. But an image of lovers sucking pomegranates is certainly open to other more tantalizing interpretations as well.”

Volume 27, Number 3: Winnipeg

This article originally appeared in Border Crossings #107, published August 2008.

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