Sally Mann: Immediate Family

5 May - 27 June 1992

Houk Friedman is pleased to announce the exhibition Sally Mann: Immediate Family, a show of recent works by one of America's most important contemporary photographers.  This exhibition constitutes the most comprehensive selection to date from Sally Mann's revealing series of family photographs. The exhibition opens May 5 and continues through June 27, 1992.  The gallery is located at 1094 Madison Avenue at 82nd Street.  Hours:  11 a.m. to 6 p.m., Tuesday through Saturday.


Sally Mann's first child, Emmett, was born in 1979.  Two daughters, Jessie and Virginia, followed.  In 1984, when Jessie came home from school one day with her eye swollen from gnat bites, Sally documented the moment, titling the resulting photograph Damaged Child  in homage to the famous Dorothea Lange image of a Depression era youth.  This began Sally Mann's series of photographs of her children, taken when they are ill, at play, after accidents, or simply in moods of anger or joy.  They are all taken with an unsettling directness and a sense of universal meaning found in the day-to-day moments in a child's life.


Mann's black and white work is made with an 8 x 10 inch view camera, a format which demands to a certain extent that the photographer conceptualize the image before it is taken.  Therefore, although Mann's images of her three children often have the playfulness and informality of snapshots, many are actually carefully considered compositions.  Mann's painstaking care and attention to detail are manifest in the beautiful 20 x 24 inch enlargement prints she makes.


Taking her inspiration from the intimate rituals and routines of family life, Mann has an inexhaustible source of subject matter in her children.  Her images resonate with fascination and passion as she explores emotional moments counterbalanced by the commonplaces of childhood.  As Mann says, "Every mother has seen everything I've photographed—probably countless times."  Living with her family in rural Virginia, she sees her children growing up on the same land she did, swimming in the same river, exploring the same forest.  Mann's images exemplify her reflection on childhood and motherhood, family and intimacy, nature and Southern sensibility.


Sally Mann has received NEA and NEH grants and a Guggenheim Fellowship in 1987.  Her work appears in the major collections of the Metropolitan Museum of Art, the Museum of Modern Art, the Corcoran Gallery and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. In 1991, Mann's work was featured in the Biennial Exhibition at the Whitney Museum of American Art and in the Museum of Modern Art's 1991 show "Pleasures and Terrors in Domestic Comfort."  She is the author of Second Sight  (1982) and her work is included in Mothers and Daughters  (Aperture, 1989), Swimmers  (Aperture, 1988), and most recently on the cover of The Body In Question (Aperture, 1991).  At Twelve (Aperture, 1988), her previous book of tender and perceptive portraits of young girls, was called "an American Classic" by Annie Dillard.  Mann's latest publication, Immediate Family will be released this fall by Aperture as a showcase for this tremendous introspective series.