PDN Photo of the Day

Three Decades of Jo Ann Callis’s Haunting Domesticity

Jo Ann Callis is known for staging curiously complex photographs that are rich with visual metaphors, both menacing and humorous. Through June 1, images drawn from three decades of art making are on view at Anat Egbi’s AE2 gallery space in Los Angeles. The earliest works in Lighting Matches are dated 1976, and the most recent 1992.

Callis explores the pleasures of familiarity and intimacy in domestic settings. “However, the resulting photographs disrupt what we come to expect from day to day reality,” notes the gallery. “In Callis’s scripted, posed, and tightly structured universe, a pair of painted red toes smoke a cigarette, a raven descends upon a strawberry cake, and a woman the size of a lamp twirls with reckless abandon.”

For Callis, interior physical spaces provide a channel to explore human states of mind such as joy, fear, pleasure, loneliness, and anxiety. The faces of Callis’s subjects are obscured through lighting, cropping or choreographic poses, thus withholding their individual egos and personalities from sight. “It becomes the viewer’s job to add and interpret the emotional and psychological realities left in the wake,” writes Anat Egbi.

Callis’s work leaves one haunted with the sense that they have seen something not meant to be seen: a daydream, a nightmare, a fantasy, and challenges one’s ability to distinguish between each. 

Anat Egbi would like to thank ROSEGALLERY for their partnership in this exhibition.

Lighting Matches
By Jo Ann Callis
Anat Egbi AE2
Through June 1, 2019

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Conceptual/Still Life


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