Monday, January 21, 2013

Colleen Mullins, B&W Issue 82

I profiled Colleen Mullins, who would soon after win a McKnight Fellowship, in April 2011. Mullins' mother led her to five-star cruise where she found the subjects of her then current work. It was challenging personally to reconcile the artist’s profound sadness over her mother’s recent passing, with the (inebriated) joy in many of her photographs. And yet, I tried: 

“While Mullin’s photographs have apparent parallels with Martin Parr’s depictions of New Brightonites on holiday, or to Larry Fink’s series Social Graces, her characters seem even less self-aware. Bauble-laden, sequined, they were frequently intoxicated and incognizant of more than their own gratification, then flash-frozen by Mullins in various rictuses of frivolity that devolved as hours passed. …there is an awareness of the festive atmosphere’s vacuity, and vast grief over the ultimate hollowness of her now-deceased mother’s pursuit of such insubstantial connections. There exists simultaneously in this body of work an antipathy towards, and an attraction to, its subjects. It is an indictment of their indifference to pain, even as it's an empathetic porttrait of people of a certain caste enjoying themselves. April, 2011 link

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