|todd camplin weekly...
|40 ACRES...GUMBO YA YA
at Liliana Bloch Gallery
by Todd Camplin
Back in Kentucky, my family had moments when my parents were barely scraping by. My father
was a coal miner and sometimes coal mines would be plentiful and other times the jobs dried up.
Just like all fossils fuel jobs, there were booms and busts. As fickle as that industry was, it was one of
the few pathways into a middle class for a person with little education. Now, imagine a place
where there isn’t even a pathway. Poverty is the only small world understood and seen by a
population. In her travels across the Mississippi and Louisiana landscape, Letitia Huckaby has
documented places and people that tell a story about life in the deep south. A place where
promises were made and broken. Thus setting generations on the path of poverty.
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|You might be saying to yourself, I don’t want to be depressed. But Letitia Huckaby is not preaching
or judging the viewer. Rather these images are loving portraits of life and environment. I felt heavy
and light at the same time. My emotions rolled up and down. After I left the gallery, I couldn’t stop
thinking about the photos. They reminded me of some of my uncle’s family that lived in poverty
and couldn’t afford to maintain their home. The house fell into such disrepair that it was
reclaimed by nature. The trash piled up, because the nearest dump was too far to walk.
|Huckaby’s framing choice is old wooden embroidery hoops. The use of these objects as frames
gives the work an extraordinary amount of power. You feel the image telling a story, but those
hoops look like they lived a story. The hoops are resting on art pieces. They have finished their
jobs as craft makers and now hold a place in an art gallery. Huckaby’s use of space to create
diptychs, triptychs, etc. works to help spot light areas of interest that a single composition might
not have accomplished.
|Where would you see such an amazing photography show that both engages you intellectually
and emotionally? Liliana Bloch Gallery is your answer. Letitia Huckaby will be showing through
|One glaring difference is Huckaby subjects. Those betrayed were promised that after the civil
war their lives would be better. Instead that legacy and those that were determined to keep
the status quo kept the former slaves from becoming successful. Thus, scraping by as farmers
and craftspeople was the only way to survive. A few escaped to become musicians, but
many stayed put. The photos reminded me of blues. As I walked around the gallery, Robert
Johnson was playing in my head.