Playing and Reality by John Houck

Before I read a book called ‘photography is magic’ which introduce many photographers who practice experimental approach to photography, I haven’t seen/experience weird perspective effect of photography. When I found john in the book, his photography was interesting since his style of playing with photographic perspective in frame seemed to say, “what if there are still questions about reliability of photography, when we are even looking at it?”

There is interesting solo exhibition of John Houck, Playing and Reality, which is held at On Stallar Rays, from opening on Sunday, April 10 to May 22.

A Pointing Device (from A History of Graph Paper series), 2013 Archival pigment print 46-1/2 by 33-1/2 inches

According to Gallery’s explanation, Houck’s new body of work follows his History of Graph Paper series. Subsequent iterations of re-arrangement and re-photography create spatially layered images that evoke the complexity and malleable nature of memory, and show how objects laden with personal histories can drive the imagination and inspire new narratives. Objects and pictures are surrogates of the specific nuances of the intimate and psychic space shared between two individuals.

Houck further draws a metaphoric parallel between the imagined third entity between two people, and the idea of an interstitial third entity between painting and photography, engaging not only photographic representations, but incorporating painting on and within the photos. These elements do not function to replicate reality, but are rather playful and irreverent jests that skip and meander across pictorial space, intensifying awareness of the flattened picture plane. Such cursory brushwork ruptures the familiar space of the digital image, disputing the expectation of photographic perfection, and heightening the desire to connect with a constructed, physical reality.


Pine Ridge (from A History of Graph Paper series), 2013 Archival pigment print 32-1/8 by 24-1/8 inches

Houck’s mining of memory and the imagination—through both psychoanalysis and within his fluid studio practice—attends to the roles of introspection and creative play in feeling fully alive.*

*It is in playing and only in playing that the individual child or adult is able to be creative and to use the whole personality, and it is only in being creative that the individual discovers the self.
― D.W. Winnicott, Playing and Reality

On Stallar Rays Gallery

Also I attached a link about conversation with John Houck for understanding his works.

A Conversation with John Houck

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