by Janice Guy

Justine Kurland and Bruce Kurland

Art in America


I really loved the show at Higher Pictures, which pairs photographs by Justine Kurland with small, sometimes extremely odd, still-life paintings by Justine’s father, Bruce Kurland. Bruce also painted meat—in one painting, a strip of bacon is draped over a flowering branch; in another, supermarket packages of raw steak are piled in a ceramic bowl. There is also a quiet rendering of a clamshell that calls to mind Hitchcock’s depictions of the same thing. The photographs, which are gorgeous, are recent black-and-white, 4-by-5-inch contact prints, taken since Justine sold her van and stopped taking her road-trip pictures. Many are self-portraits, alone or with lovers. Some are of animals, pregnant or post-hysterectomy. Others are interiors shot in her mother’s house, a few with her father’s work in them. One is a study of a handmade chair and table, a painting by Bruce of Justine’s mother hanging on the wall behind them. Both of Justine’s parents were artists; she has bohemianism ingrained in her.