January 15 – February 27, 2021
Brick & Mortar: Goods & Services
I explore cities and towns, near and far, to look at the historic downtown areas. I look at and compare the building styles; which of them were constructed simply for function or built more elaborately for the time and place. Sometimes historic buildings have been revitalized into new businesses with new life and purpose breathed into them. Other times, the buildings are left empty, converted to storage or simply abandoned. When too much of the town goes vacant, the remainder of the area also slides into the negative. The buildings I have photographed go unnoticed by some travelers passing by. For me, they exert a powerful pull. Old things interest me because of “what was.” At one time the businesses were vibrant and indispensable to their communities, but now they are not. They have outlived their use and been left to meld into the landscape. These photographs honor their past existence and dignity. Like all things, these local businesses had their time in the sun, their grand openings & their summer sales, but it’s all over now.
Also included in the exhibit are a few photos of fully operational small businesses. Each has an individualism that characterizes the idea of owning one’s own shop. The colors, patterns, and charm created to attract customers are readily apparent. One senses the originality and sturdy self reliance that is the backbone of local business.
The humble faded ads or ghost signs always catch my eye. The idea of hand-painted ads preserved over the years, extending beyond the life of the business is a true testament to the lead paint used on those porous brick walls. The business advertisements had true staying power, as did the buildings themselves.
My photographs are straight forward and direct. They are uncluttered and orderly compositions. There is a sense of intimacy and quiet reserve embedded in their simplicity, and, just possibly, a bit of uncertainty.
Blair Jackson is a Northern Virginia native, born at Fort Belvoir, and has lived her life in the Washington area. She has art degrees from Florida State University and Parsons School of Design/Banks Street in NYC. She attended Parsons in Paris, Alexandria Art League, and numerous art & photo workshops. Blair taught Graphic Design in Arlington, VA, and Colored Pencil Drawing at the Torpedo Factory. She and her husband operate an exhibit design and fabrication studio, Blair Inc.
Blair is a member of F11 Women’s Photo Collaborative, the Alexandria Art League, The Arts Club of Washington, Soho House, & is founder & president of the Metropolitan Washington Colored Pencil Society.
Blair exhibits, regularly, in both Photography & Colored Pencil in DC/MD/VA. Solo exhibits have included The Arts Club of Washington, NIH, Martha Jefferson Clinic, Artomatic, Hotcakes in Charlottesville, and Glamourama in Georgetown. Her work has also been shown in group exhibitions around the country. She was a featured artist in both Elan and To The Point magazines.
Blair Jackson’s photographs are straight forward and direct. They are uncluttered and orderly compositions, closely cropped, with a sense of quiet reserve, and possible uncertainty.
The Monroe Parlors are located on the first floor and feature works by the club’s currently exhibiting artists.