Sally Mann Proud Flesh
Sally Mann
Proud Flesh 9 September - 29 October 2011

Jackson Fine Art is honored to open the September season with a solo

exhibition of work by celebrated photographer Sally Mann, widely considered

one of the most influential artists in contemporary photography. Our September

show will feature Mann's most recent body of work, Proud Flesh, an intimate

series of black-and-white portraits focused—in an interesting reversal of

gendered expectations of the artist/muse relationship—primarily on the artist's

husband of thirty-nine years. Mann will be available at the opening reception to

sign copies of her new book, The Flesh and the Spirit.

 

In Proud Flesh, taken over a six-year interval, Mann applies her process to the

task of documenting her husband Larry, who suffers from late-onset muscular

dystrophy. The resultant series of nudes is a startling yet tender depiction of a

body in fragments. No one image offers a cohesive portrait of its subject;

instead, viewers are invited to consider this frank portrayal of the mature male

form with the same painstaking precision as Mann. As in her earlier projects, her

evocative fusion of the material world and its representation—a confusion of

process, in which the varied textures and striking aberrations familiar to

followers of Mann's work often blur with the physical reality of her sitter—convey

a timeless quality even while the work is so apparently personal. Mann, often

describing the sessions between she and Larry as a kind of communion, speaks

to this duality—

 

"[T]he series wasn't so much about his illness and the degradation of his body

and muscle as it was just a paean, just a love story. But you couldn't avoid

looking at the waste of his right leg and his left arm. And he was completely

willing to show that, which is extraordinary."

As in much of Mann's work, the emotional bond between photographer and

subject lends this series a resonant power.

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