Katy Grannan’s color portraits depict subjects the artist describes as “new pioneers,” Northern Californians who struggle to define themselves under the scrutiny of relentless sunlight. California serves as both a literal and metaphorical backdrop for Grannan’s new photographs. It is a mythical destination and a real end-point where sunshine illuminates both the abject and the joyful.
In The Westerns, Grannan explores the uneasy relationship between fixed photographic portraiture and her subjects’ mercurial identities. The photographs are replete with ambiguity and contradiction: they are evidence of an invented, unknowable self, confronting inescapable photographic description.
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