It is almost evidence of a crime.
In perplexed devastation, a woman holds in her hands the charred
remains of a casserole dish - a smoking gun, pointing back to the
culprit. Witnessing the starched cleanness of the floral apron,
the roses out of focus in the far corner, we recognize this as a
plan gone woefully wrong. What started out as special meal has turned
into a domestic disaster.
Eerily cinematic, the scene transcends the banal facts of its reality.
More than a ruined meal, it is tragedy. It is the pieta of Betty
Caitlin Atkinson captures mundane moments of epic failure. Escaped
dogs, accidental falls, misplaced cars in parking lots these
common scenes of daily distress are steeped in regret. The fact
that we negotiate these tasks almost every day park the car,
walk the dog, cook a meal- makes these seemingly slight failings
monumental. How can we get such simple things wrong?
Between all of the aspects of daily life, we are expected to maintain
such a high level of constant competency. In Atkinsons staged
photographs, we see the breakdown of the system. The endless train
of chores, chugging away on a daily basis, has derailed.
Her photographs, named chapters, portray a woman that has failed.
We witness serial moments in which the character cannot be everything
for everyone -- despite her efforts or perhaps because of them.
Momentarily alone in the society, her vulnerability is palpable,
but the absurdity of the situation is tinged with dark humor.
Atkinson writes of this series:
"A few nights ago, I locked myself out of my apartment
for the third time this year. While I sat trying to decide what
to do, I was overwhelmed with the thought that my life seems composed
of one mistake after another; that I am living through a seemingly
endless series of disappointments. No matter how hard I try, I cant
seem to get it right."
But in this touching series, she gets it exactly right. Immaculately
lit, the photographs hover between genre painting and cinema --
embodying domestic pathos while articulating the complexities of
contemporary life. Empathetic, warm, and oddly charming, they speak
to the human experience -- shining light on our shared fallibility.
Enter the Gallery >