Excerpt from Blue Sky Gallery Blog – 2015 Pacific NorthWest Drawers

Though Tamar Haytayan’s images
focus on the private sphere and the relationship between her daughter and son,
the work also expands in meaning through text: each image is titled
“Innocence,” while often picturing the darker, grittier sides of childhood. For
instance, the first photograph, “Innocence 5,” from 2012, shows her daughter
with a towel on her head in the kitchen, her face curled up in an indignant
snarl. The foreground and background are shrouded in heavy black and the camera
is slightly tilted, giving the image a disorienting, almost nightmarish
quality. The literal darkness of the image, combined with the discomfort of the
subject and the strange camera angle, undermines the ideal of purity, creating
instead a more complex, often fearful and angry, depiction of childhood. The
second image, “Innocence 1,” shows one of the artist’s  children’s hands
draped over the lip of the bathtub. Grit lines the fingernails, and the
monochromatic nature of the print masks the color of the hand: it could be
muddied with dirt, but its dismembered quality suggests something more violent.
Not all of Haytayan’s photographs fixate on such darkness: one image,
“Innocence 7,” pictures a hug between the two siblings, with soft, sleepy
light; “Innocence 2” shows her son with sun through the window illuminating his
bright eyes, giving his face a painterly, classical quality. However, the two
on display this week do highlight a trend in her work to subvert traditional
ideas of childhood innocence, alluding to contemporaries like Sally Mann and harkening
back to pictorialists such as Julia Margaret Cameron.

Both Drawers photographers on
display this week incorporate text in ways that challenge the traditional
duality of text and image, integrating them through literal photographs or
through titles, and thus allowing the work to expand in meaning.

– Molly Walls