Lucas Blalock’s Trippy Lens

The New York-based artist likes to meddle with the norm.

Lucas Blalock

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.

The Next Frontier

“In the art world, you don’t get to interact with everyday people as often as you would imagine.” -Tavares Strachan.

Tavares Strachan’s You Belong Here, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

“I was hiding all of this offstage stuff, and I started thinking I could do it the other way.” -Lucas Blalock

Two Lettuces, 2014. Courtesy of the artist.

“I have a huge studio by the fjord. Sometimes, even when it’s cold, I go down to the water. When I got pregnant, my whole body wanted to go back to Norway. It was a force. And I haven’t complained one second.” -Ida Ekblad

Ekblad’s Kons, 2014. Courtesy of the artist and Gavin Brown’s Enterprise.

“Embarrassment and discomfort are a great place for a painting to exist.” -Sanya Kantarovsky

Wet Hands, 2015. Courtesy of the artist, Casey Kaplan, New York, and Marc Foxx, Los Angeles.

“All day long, as we use the phone and the Internet, we’re leaking information that is collected to create portraits of us.” -Josh Kline

Professionalism and Po-Po, both 2015 are elements from Kline’s installation Freedom, 2015. Photograph by Biel Parklee.