Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present Confessions for a Son, an exhibition of color photographs by McNair Evans. This will be the first time Confessions for a Son has been exhibited in North Carolina. In 2010, photographer McNair Evans returned to his childhood home in Laurinburg, North Carolina, to retrace his father’s life and legacy after his death nine years earlier. His father’s passing had exposed the looming insolvency of their family business, ending five generations of family and financial stability. The economic impact on the family was immediate, but the emotional impact lingered with Evans.
Seeking to comprehend how the man he admired could have hidden the impending reality from those he loved, Evans delved into his family origins and his father’s history to create a multi-layered photographic narrative about love and loss.
Evans used medium and large format cameras to chronicle his father’s journey from North Carolina to Princeton, New Jersey, and back again. The overall portrait that emerges is intimate, yet the themes of home, work, love, loss and grief concern us all. We see a name scratched into a mantlepiece, a church hymnal on a dashboard behind a splintered windshield, the exposed contents of an old, care-worn desk and a bedroom at twilight, as a backyard floodlight, installed by the artists’s mother to prevent burglaries, shines through a window.
It is testament to Evans’ sensibilities as a photographer that his photographs of the unremarkable are never banal. His compositional clarity, mastery of light and shadow, and the unabashed emotion the he injects into his work allow mundane subjects to be transported; pushed beyond the everyday.
These photographs convey anger, nostalgia and grief, alloyed with gratitude and an acceptance of the gift of clarity gained by making this survey. This work is haunting in its ability to hold these feelings in careful balance. His photographs of playing cards on a table demonstrates this poignant equilibrium: faint condensation mists a window, through which a marvelous slant of morning sunlight illuminates the aftermath of a game of chance, now finished because the player has left the table.
McNair Evans lives and works in San Francisco, California. He is a 2016 Guggenheim Fellow whose photographs have been exhibited in New York, San Francisco, Atlanta and Santa Fe. His work is in many private and public collections including the San Francisco Museum of Art, CA, among others.
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