Katy Grannan's striking portraits capture the desire of her subjects to offer themselves up to the camera lens. Each of her well-kwn series - Poughkeepsie Journal, Dream America, and Morning Call - began with a simple ad placed by Grannan in local newspapers: Art Models. Artist/Photographer (female) seeks people for portraits. No experience necessary. Leave msg. After an initial telephone conversation, Grannan travels to the caller's home. Photographing her models in their own surroundings, she pays meticulous attention to the elements of their domestic settings: wood paneling, patterned wall-paper, and other mundane but often telling details. The subjects choose to remain clothed, to model nude, or to pause somewhere in between, working with Grannan to arrive at the pose. Throughout Model American, the influence of portraiture from classical painting to fashion advertising can be sensed in the poses and gazes her models adopt. Evoking everyone from Ophelia to Cindy Crawford - some with more savvy than others - they express a collective sense of the do's and don'ts to be observed in presenting oneself to the camera. The resulting images reflect the intensity of the relationship between artist and model. With subjects centrally framed and directly facing the camera, each image resonates with the tension of a first encounter. In Grannan's series Sugar Camp Road and her most recent work, she moves the exercise outdoors, using a municipal park as the backdrop. Even though the parklands that serve as her set bring the private encounters of her earlier series into the public landscape, she maintains a delicate - yet charged - sense of intimacy.
KATY GRANNAN was born in Arlington, Massachusetts, in 1969. She received her B.A. from the University of Pennsylvania, Philadelphia, in 1991 and her M.F.A. from Yale University in 1999. Her work has been featured in multiple group exhibitions; she was one of five photographers selected for the 2004 Whitney Biennial. Solo exhibitions of Grannan's work have been held at Lawrence Rubin Greenberg Van Doren Fine Art in New York (2000 and 2003) and other galleries. She recently received the 2004 Baum Award for Emerging American Photographers, the Theater Gallery of the Berkeley Art Museum and Pacific Film Archive (2004). Grannan is represented by the Greenberg Van Doren Gallery, New York. She lives in New York City and San Francisco. JAN AVGIKOS is a contributing editor at Artforum. Her essays and reviews appear regularly in Artforum, Parkett, and Flash Art, among other international publications. She has written essays for catalogs of work by John Baldessari, Felix Gonzalez-Torres, Marina Abramovic, and Cindy Sherman. She has also written extensively on contemporary artists Jack Pierson and Anna Gaskell, among others, and lectures widely on contemporary art.