One of photography’s great abilities is to make the familiar appear strange. Do images pull back the curtain of our preconceptions and revealing what’s really there, or are they manipulated by the artist to present a seemingly realistic, but inauthentic scene? Theo DeHart’s photographs of his home are a bit of both and deftly navigate the line between fact and fiction, keeping us on edge. Our domestic lives are so familiar that is can be hard to create the aesthetic distance to see what’s really there, but that same myopia can also be a strength, allowing the intuitive and imaginative to rise over the mundane and ordinary. DeHart’s home appears as an environment of magical light and convoluted space, suggesting a deep secret or even ominous presence.
The brilliant light falling onto a table with personal belongings exudes a sense of foreboding within the calm, due in no small part to the shadows of the hanging light and chain, and the skewed shade on the floor lamp. The room is surrounded by a deep, impenetrable shadow, while the turquoise purse, wallet and books sit resting quietly. Is this a metaphor for apprehension and a subtext for the anxiety of our uncertain times?