JULIE MOOS

Domestic

October 20 through November 21, 2001

 

Fredericks Freiser Gallery is pleased to announce an exhibition of newphotography by Julie Moos. The artist has been included in several group shows in the United States and Canada. This will be her second solo exhibition in New York.

 

Domesticis the third chapter in a series of double portraits of people living in Birmingham, Alabama-- the artist’s current home and an important city in the development of post-1960 American history. Using a 4 x 5 camera, simple lighting, and a traveling studio, Ms. Moos photographs pairs of people whose relationships, though defined only in general terms  become integral to the portrait. The framework of the visualization is familiar--formal variation (clothes, posture, facial characteristics) within a serial format (background, spacing, placement)--but the objectivity of this passport-style photography is replaced by notions of community, history, and the subjective reality of the viewer.

 

In the first part of the series, Friends and Enemies, Moos photographed the class of 2000 of an upscale private high school. Whether the students are best friends or worst enemies remains undefined, yet the portraits evoke a specific narrative based on the expectations and cultural assumptions of the viewer. The second part of this series, The Hat Ladies, focuses on a group of women who belong to the same Baptist church. Moos set her studio up in the hallway of the church every Sunday for two months and photographed the women in their elaborate Sunday hats. The hats have a formal rivalry of their own. Yet the major tension in these photographs arises from the coded and structured sub-culture of the sitters whose elaborate fashion stands wholly apart from the predominantly white artworld.

 

For Domestic, Ms. Moos sits wealthy homeowners with the people whom they employ to clean and maintain their homes. In the large majority of photographs, there is one white sitter and one African-American sitter. Here the dynamic between a homeowner and their domestic-help carries a weight that seems far heavier than most employer/employee relationships, especially when we remember that the setting is Birmingham. But how are these assumptions made? Again, the true relationship between the sitters is never visible. In the context of her stated paradigms, all Ms. Moos offers are the formal portraits of people within their community.

 

Gallery hours are Tuesday through Saturday, 11am to 6pm. For further information and/or photographs please contact the gallery by telephone at (212) 633-6555, fax at (212) 367-9502 or e-mail at fredericksgal@mindspring.com.