It artist of the moment: Clint Baclawski
Every few months, it seems, an artist pops out as the It artist of the moment among local curators. And Clint Baclawski, who graduated from MassArt this spring, is that artist right now, with simultaneous shows in June at the Photographic Resource Center, Axiom and Alpha Gallery in Boston. (The Alpha show remains on view through next week.)
Other artists who recently enjoyed such local curatorial consensus are Boston photographer Claire Beckett, the Boston art collaborative The Institute for Infinitely Small Things, and Chicago photographer Brian Ulrich. Three out of the four are photographers working in a deadpan style.
Baclawski builds freestanding photo lightboxes that feature indoor shots of trade shows and outdoor shots of public events – a dog show, a boat show, a car show, a crowed gathered in a Salem park for some Halloween event. "Exodus" (below) is a panoramic photo of a crowd milling about a South Boston street for the St. Patrick’s Day parade.
Baclawski’s interiors feel to me competent but dull, too indebted to Jeff Wall (both in his photographic eye and in the light box devices), and indistinguishable from all the other deadpan photography being done today. And his formal devices feel extraneous – the same photo appears on each side of the lightbox, but reversed, with signs always reading right way around; the lightboxes cycle light and dim.
But the outdoor shots, the public events and cityscapes, draw me in with alluring detail. My eyes wander the crowd at the St. Pat’s parade, following the people down the street deep into the picture, and up across the Boston skyline in the distance.
Pictured from top to bottom: Clint Baclawski, “Consolation,” “Exodus,” “The Titanic,” and “Exhibition Hall A,” all 2008, all constructed lightbox with backlight pigment prints, courtesy of the artist, Alpha Gallery and the Photographic Resource Center.