BMoCA @ Macky - John Lake: Squinting Grief

Guest curated by Kiah Butcher.
August 24 - November 12, 2023

Hero ImageJohn Lake’s series of photographs titled Squinting Grief represent a visual record of his recent trip to New York, Wisconsin, and his father’s birthplace of Rockford, Illinois. Through landscapes, portraits, and domestic scenes, he intuitively documents and investigates his experiences. Lake utilizes repetition and variations of perspective to create a visual atmosphere and ongoing dialog with his surroundings and family.

Prompted by a family gathering, Lake began his trip with a visit to rural upstate New York and took these photographs as a way to process new revelations about shared trauma, familial mental health, and grief felt for lost and distant kin.

Through the medium of photography, Lake investigates the ideology of truth as he examines and questions reality. Photography is often linked with the ideas of “truth,” documentation, and wide-eyed, keen observations rather than narrow, distorted views experienced through squinting. However, no image is entirely objective, and photographs are still subject to the biases, interpretations, and intentions of both the photographer and the viewer. Lake’s works prompt the questions: What are we actually seeing? How can we decipher memory from experience?

Lake uses a variety of expired 35mm, medium format color negatives, slide, and black & white film to bring the materiality and the chemistry of the photograph into contact with the viewer.

About John Lake

John Lake is an artist, curator, and educator based in Denver, Colorado. He studied at the SUNY Stony Brook, The New School, and the Visual Studies Workshop. His work involves the ephemeral, psychological, emotional, mnemonic, and epistemological nature of photography.

Artist Statement

“I hope to stretch the imaginative functions of photography and the ways its intrinsically connected to psychology, intuition, and shared visions. I’m interested in togetherness, dialogs, and the ghosts behind the curtain. The exhibition space is a social space and the viewer’s body (self) interacts with artwork with all the heaviness and fortitude of their lived experiences. I want people to enter into my work and to bring universal, personal, esoteric, and illusionary engagement to the images.”

BMoCA @ Macky is a collaboration between BMoCA and The Andrew J. Macky Gallery, located in the foyer of the Macky Auditorium Concert Hall at the University of Colorado Boulder.