In 200 Words: Boxed In by Tierney Gearon

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Tierney Gearon, Untitled (Cat in Box), 2012.

Tierney Gearon’s color photographs at Jackson Fine Art border on the trite. Young children and pets are set in landscapes that threaten to overwhelm them, potentially evoking familiar narratives of the imminent loss of innocence or the fragility of children. But many of the photographs reach beyond these safe stories and suggest that the Atlanta-born, Los Angeles-based artist has tuned in to more nuanced views.

The show is titled “Colorshape,” referring to the colored, transparent thermoplastic volumetric forms and sheets that appear in the photographs. The volumes range in size and shape, from a cube just large enough to hold a Labrador retriever, to a rectangular cuboid the size of a refrigerator, to a triangular pyramid the size of a one-person tent. Usually a child or animal occupies the color-shape. According to gallery director Courtney Mills, Gearon fabricated the acrylic volumes and did not make significant use of digital editing. The sunlight passing through the forms creates vivid and sometimes surreal prismatic effects.

Some works manage to evade the trite, primarily those in which the child or animal interacts with the color-shape by touch or gesture, or where the prismatic effects are cast onto the figures’ bodies. These elements bring forth the complicated dream-life of children, which is not simply innocent, nor destined for destruction in a mythically overwhelming world.

Tierney Gearon’s “Colorshape” and prints from her Alphabet Book are on view at Jackson Fine Art through February 1.

Bryan K. Alexander is an Atlanta-based writer who publishes AtlantaArtBlog.com.

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Tierney Gearon, Untitled (Snow Circle Girl), 2012.
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