Lucas Blalock's Trippy Lens

Lucas Blalock

Two Lettuces, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

While reading Bertolt Brecht’s theories on theater, Lucas Blalock had a revelation about making photographs. “I was hiding all of this offstage stuff, and I started thinking I could do it the other way,” he says, alluding to the German playwright’s method of exposing the conventions of his profession. Looking closely at Blalock’s seemingly deadpan pictures of, say, a checkered cloth or the side of a cabin, one notices haphazard cuts-and-pastes, and even the odd digital squiggle—behind-the-scenes techniques peeking through. They trip up the eye, and then the mind, and have made the New York–based Blalock, 36, noteworthy among artists toying with today’s slippery image culture, in which everything is retouched. “I’ve been more and more drawn toward objects that exist in that uncanny valley between animate and not,” he says. For his current show at Galerie Rodolphe Janssen in Brussels, on view through May 16, he shot a climbing wall in a playground in Williamsburg, Brooklyn, “that hasthese incredibly lobelike handles all over it. They look like ears or genitals—just superweird.”

Lucas Blalock. Courtesy of the artist.