“The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” at Fraenkel Gallery, San Francisco
Curated by photographer Katy Grannan, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” feels essential. At its core is what it feels like to be human. Encountering each work, one feels addressed, urged to respond, propelled to make sense.
Many of the pieces on view engage with the notion of intimacy. Ambiguous in their emotional charge, Dru Donovan’s black and white photographs staging moments of physical contact speak to themes of longing, vulnerability, and self-presentation. In his video The Best Decision Ever Made, Christopher Miner recounts memories from his life as the camera rests upon the deeply familiar surfaces of his grandparents’ home.
Narrative is both suggested and withheld in Curran Hatleberg’s images; in Blue Suit, a man holds a pay phone to his ear while his companion waits for him in their car, the situation appearing simultaneously vague and urgent. Similarly, the animals on the ground in J. W. Fisher’s black and white photographs are disquieting ciphers, turning away from us as if wounded.
Contributing a degree of levity, Zak Arctander’s video My Funny Valentine sympathetically plants us into the subjectivity of a stranger who searches for images of celebrities online and uses Photoshop to insert them into their personal snapshots. Alice Wong’s painted interventions onto found photographs render them exuberantly colorful abstractions.
Like Carson McCullers’s book of the same name, “The Heart is a Lonely Hunter” is filled with pathos. Soulfully cerebral, the 66 works by 18 artists stage a range of arresting encounters.
“The Heart is as Lonely Hunter” is on view through August 22nd.