Best of 2009

Best of 2009
Carlos and Jason Sanchez
Originally published on June 16, 2009

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Currently in its last week on view at Catherine Clark Gallery is a solo show of work by Montreal-based photographers and brothers Carlos and Jason Sanchez. The exhibition marks the brothers’ second at the San Francisco gallery, and displays a survey of their work over the past seven years, since their collaboration began. The twelve large-scale photographs on view depict scenes that have been exhaustively staged by the artists and are rich with Hollywood-rivaling sets, props and lighting. These moments on display are like fleeting beats of time caught as stills on a film reel, and at the same time appear openly contrived– unashamed that they have been so heavily orchestrated. The artificiality of these moments, in the darker themed photographs, evokes an eerie sensation that grips the viewer. The discomfort is that these scenes seem to be depicted as fantasies in some twisted mind. In Abduction (2004), a generic, mustached and pasty white man kneels ominously at a little girls bedside as she seemingly opens gifts from her suitor that are intended to lure her to his windowless van.

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The star of the show is John Mark Karr (2007), a portrait caught in mirror’s reflection of the pedophile who made a false confession to the murder of child beauty pageant queen Jon Benet Ramsey. While in many of the photographs the models are members of the brothers’ social circle, only the real John Mark Karr could perform as authentically and disturbingly as the artists imagined for this shot.

There are quieter, more subtle moments in the show, such as Drifter (2007), wherein a stained denim-donning vagrant pauses for reflection at a spot in the urban wilderness where a train track meets a chain link fence.

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Carlos and Jason Sanchez have exhibited their work internationally at Caren Golden Fine Art, New York; Torch Gallery, Amsterdam; and Parisian Laundry, Montreal, among many others. Their work is in several public and private collections, including Canadian Museum of Contemporary Photography; Montreal Museum of Fine Arts; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; and 21c Museum, Louisville, Kentucky. Both men studied at Concordia University in Montreal, Canada, where Carlos earned his BFA.

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