Ralph Eugene Meatyard’s “American Mystic”
              Brian Karl
              Capturing the unseen has been a taking-off point for photographic ambition since the medium’s inception. Ephemeral moments, underlying truths, and the supernatural have all been teased out through choices around opening and closing shutters. Featuring small-format photographs produced from the mid-1950s through the early ’70s, this exhibition at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco, posits Ralph Eugene Meatyard as an eccentric visionary who pursued and even contrived to generate signs of humans’ unseen and uncanny relationships. The black-and-white tones in Meatyard’s photographs hold forth something immanent that is not quite real, lived life. The choreography for his images—almost all of which deny clear viewing, by one means or another—play on the voyeuristic aspect of photography. The obscured and recumbent human figure is one recurring posture that Meatyard set up and captured, often with the suggestion of other figures above or nearby (at the very least, the implied viewer/photographer). This is the case with the buckskin-dressed boy half-sprawled in tall weeds below a hulking water tower in Untitled (ca. 1955); in Untitled (1960), sunlit graffiti carved on a slab of wood confronts the viewer as if from the fever dream of the boy over whom it hangs, immediately above the dark shade in which …

              e-flux announcements are emailed press releases for art exhibitions from all over the world.

              Agenda delivers news from galleries, art spaces, and publications, while Criticism publishes reviews of exhibitions and books.

              Architecture announcements cover current architecture and design projects, symposia, exhibitions, and publications from all over the world.

              Film announcements are newsletters about screenings, film festivals, and exhibitions of moving image.

              Education announces academic employment opportunities, calls for applications, symposia, publications, exhibitions, and educational programs.

              Sign up to receive information about events organized by e-flux at e-flux Screening Room, Bar Laika, or elsewhere.

              I have read e-flux’s privacy policy and agree that e-flux may send me announcements to the email address entered above and that my data will be processed for this purpose in accordance with e-flux’s privacy policy*

              Thank you for your interest in e-flux. Check your inbox to confirm your subscription.