Confessions for a Son
Photographs by McNair Evans
There’s an image of two barely clad children running across a summer lawn. This negative must have been damaged. Water, fire, smoke…there is a haze, like memory, something fleeting. Culled from the past, it’s a photograph found in a box, forgotten, and rediscovered. This photograph was taken by McNair Evans’ father, whose death drove the artist to revisit his childhood home, his origins, and to dig through his history, his father’s history, and his family’s secrets.
The innocence of this picture resonates deeply with me. It’s innocence before discovery, knowledge, understanding, and acceptance. There is only the pure bliss of running naked and barefoot across a lush, green lawn. That was before decades passed and children grew up. I love how this picture reaches into the past to show us McNair’s father in the beautiful light of an emotional truth. Of course, the exhilaration of running barefoot is dependent on terrain.
A series of devastating fires, bad crops, and high interest loans fractured the familial and financial stability of McNair’s childhood. In a search to better understand his father and the events that lead to insolvency, McNair retraced his father’s life to photograph the lasting psychological landscape surrounding his death.
This latest culmination of McNair’s projects, Confessions for a Son, combines the artist’s photographs with images taken by his father and photographs found by McNair in his search for answers. Included in this exhibition for the first time are timed exposures capturing complete video interviews with men that knew McNair’s enigmatic father, as well as reinterpreted paraphernalia such as displaced checks collected from his father’s failed business and printed like sacred negatives through a mural enlarger. All of these pieces coalesce in an empathetic portrait of a man and an emotionally complex family heritage. Illuminated above all is the heartrending journey of a son.
McNair Evans created this work during his artist residency at RayKo Photo Center. He’ll be in attendance at the opening reception, so stop by and revel in his journey and his images. For more information on McNair’s work, visit his website.
RayKo Photo Center & Gallery is a comprehensive photographic facility, located near the Yerba Buena Arts District, with resources for anyone with a passion for photography. Established in the early 1990’s, RayKo Photo Center has grown to become one of San Francisco’s most beloved photography darkroom spaces; it includes traditional b&w and color labs as well as a state-of-the-art digital department, a professional rental studio, galleries, and the Photographer’s Marketplace – a retail space promoting the work of regional artists. RayKo also has San Francisco’s 1st Art*O*Mat vending machine and a vintage 1947 black & white Auto-Photo Booth.
RayKo Gallery serves to advance public appreciate of photography and create opportunities for regional, national, and international artists to create and present their work. RayKo Gallery offers 1600 square feet of exhibition space and the Photographer’s Marketplace, which supports the work of Bay Area artists. RayKo also has an artist-in-residence program to further support artists in the development of their photographic projects and ideas.
RayKo Photo Center & Gallery
428 Third Street
San Francisco, CA 94107
Tuesday-Thursday: 10-10 pm
Friday-Sunday: 10-8 pm
*RayKo is located in the SOMA arts district of San Francisco within walking distance of SFMOMA, the Moscone Center, Yerba Buena Gardens, as well as AT&T Ballpark.