Blow Both of Us, is an exhibition of photography curated by artists Shannon Ebner and Adam Putnam including works by Jimmy De Sana, Eve Fowler, Allen Frame, Mark Morrisroe, Alice O’Malley, Luther Price, Michael Queenland, Emily Roysdon, Dean Sameshima, and Gail Thacker.
Photographs are possessed with qualities that can’t always be named, even when they are seen and felt. And once a photograph is seen, whether named or felt, the qualities of the photograph can take hold of the viewer and in turn possess them. This possession makes a mark, visible or otherwise, which creates a holding pattern. The photographs of Mark Morrisroe and Jimmy De Sana have been in a holding pattern, orbiting the conversations of Shannon Ebner and Adam Putnam for a long time. Taking a cue from these ongoing conversations, Ebner and Putnam have put together a selection of works by ten artists that expand on the themes present in these conversations.
Blow Both of Us is an exhibition of photography made for friends by friends amidst a queer community spanning at least two generations. The works featured are connected as much by subject matter as they are by a shared history. This history, punctuated by love, friendship, AIDS, and survival, has created an alternative economy of belonging that is rich with spontaneity, playfulness, humor, and fierce abandon.
The title, Blow Both of Us, comes from a photograph by Mark Morrisroe (of himself and Gail Thacker), which was also used as the title of Pat Hearn’s first exhibition in her Boston loft in 1980 including the work of her friends, Morrisroe and Thacker. The image of Mark and Gail (shot in 1978 and reprinted in 1986) is a touchstone for much of the work included in the exhibition. It starts a lineage of interconnections that is bound by friendship and the role that photography has played within those friendships. For there is something about photography and its willingness to describe, that has made it possible for its subjects to see and be seen by one another. Photography lends credibility, it validates and indexes those impulses rarely seen, let alone represented, by conventional means.
Despite the whimsical nature of much of this work, there is also a dark humor, not unlike playing near the haunted house at the end of the street. Here, desires and imagined thoughts become realized. Objects become desirous-a woman’s shoe, a couch, a bathtub, a discarded mask…. As with a Morrisroe Polaroid, it is perhaps the photograph itself that becomes the shared object of longing-whether it is a token of friendship or a memento for someone or something long gone.