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Martin Parr: Time and Place

In the Daley Family and Monan Galleries
January 31–June 5, 2022

Click thumbnails to view selected objects in exhibition
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Catalogue | Lowell Humanities Series Lecture

Martin Parr (born Epsom, United Kingdom, 1952) is a photographer whose work evinces a global sensibility presented with the closely observed, precise detail of the local, recalling the ways distinctions in local cultures are increasingly flattened by global continuities. This is Parr’s first wide-ranging museum exhibition in the United States with over 135 works and an extensive selection of photobooks on display.

Martin Parr: Time and Place features at its core a career-spanning selection of Parr’s Irish photographs, which describe the radical evolution of Ireland over the last four decades and the major themes of his work—social class and consumption, curiosity and humor, humanity and its predictable idiosyncrasies. Photographs from a number of other series, such as Autoportraits, The Last Resort, Small World, and The Cost of Living—made in Europe, North America, the Middle East, Africa, and Asia—demonstrate how Parr developed a powerful vocabulary of visual and conceptual ideas informed by overlapping feelings of familiarity and alienation, and instincts that are anthropological as well as artistic.

Working in the lineage of Walker Evans, Bill Brandt, Robert Frank, and Lisette Model, Parr often seems to engage in cultural critique familiar from some of their work, one that is humorous, affectionate, ironic, or biting depending on the viewer’s perspective. Finding productive models in commercial and journalistic photography as well as fine art, Parr is distinguished from fellow ironists by his introduction of bright, saturated color to documentary practice. The early black-and-white work featured in Time and Place highlights the important role that color plays in Parr’s practice while also emphasizing how his style and vision is more complex, and less defined by color than viewers might expect.

Organized by the McMullen Museum in conjunction with Tracy Marshall-Grant for Northern Narratives and the Martin Parr Foundation, the exhibition has been curated by Karl Baden in collaboration with Boston College Irish Studies, Art, and Art History faculty. Major support has been provided by the Martin Parr Foundation, the Patrons of the McMullen Museum, and Mary Ann and Vincent Q. Giffuni.


 


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