Friday, June 12, 2015

Gregory Crewdson's Neighborhood

Douglas Street - L Reynolds 2015
I've been thinking a lot about Gregory Crewdson lately. Probably because, in these early days of summer, sitting on my front porch, at twilight, with the birds singing their evening song and the distant drone of highway 151 penetrating my head- The atmosphere in Dodgeville, feels so surreal.  Maybe it's the campers parked in front yards, or the  blue bottle trees, or old '77 Cutlass Supreme, the croaking tree frogs, white boy who thinks his all gansta long-boarding on the sidewalk headed to the bar downtown. Maybe its the stop signs mounted onto electric poles or sweet pink geraniums planted in Harley Davidson milk cans, black silhouetted cowboys or kissing dutch boy and girl lawn ornaments. I don't know. Most probably it is the combination of all these elements that, at this time of day, as the sun is sinking into the horizon, that I feel like I am trapped in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. That sitting here on my porch, watching the worlds around me, that I might just amount to a single layer, that is layer upon another and another and another, that creates a complicated, point of view about Middle-America,

If you have not seen Brief Encounters, I recommend it. It is an amazing documentary about a very passionate and driven contemporary American artist. Gregory Crewdson. Crewdon works tirelessly to produce stunning photographs of middle class American, that blend fact and fiction. His desire is to produce an perfect moment and his photographs are flawless. They capture the imperfection of normal life with beauty and grace. (Interesting, right,  flawless photos that capture imperfection.)

Since I have moved to Dodgeville, Wisconsin, I have felt like I have landed in a Gregory Crewdson photograph. So while Crewdson fabricates environments, Dodgeville, unwittingly reflects the artist, in ways he will probably never come to know or appreciate, And I am certain, that if you live in a small rural town like DV, you might understand what I mean. In the twilight, there is something, so beautiful and sublime that it is extremely hard to pin down or identify, It is there in the stillness and the brief moments of activity. It is something intangible- recognizable, yet escapes description. (At least from me,I am too close to it,)

Corner -L Reynolds 2015
So, I sit here, listening to the birds, watch this light change and the cars go by, the occasional owner walking their tiny dog, the wind rustle the leaves in the tree and I am reminded of Gregory Crewdson's photographs and the beauty found in the ordinary and the everyday.

Frontier- L Reynolds 2015
I am thinking about how to capture what I see and feel in this town, A tentative, insecure beauty, It lays in the saturated greens of  almost-perfect lawns and the tinge of blue that lingers on simple turn-of-the century white houses that have been removed of any character and completely re-sided with vinyl. It is a history mining that lingers, quietly, in the tiny stone cottages that once belonged to miners. It is a main street that struggles to stay a-float while a new super Walmart takes root up by the new 4 lane highway. It is the mourning dove that calls out to it's mate that it is time to settle down for the night.

These photos are just sketches of something bigger that I am try to arrive at, Not sure how I will get there. Not sure what it will be...but there is something there, in Gregory Crewdson's Neighborhood.