Ted Partin – [↖] Dallas (2008); [↗] New Have I (2004); [+] Brooklyn (2004); [↙] Brooklyn (2004); [↘] Brooklyn (2004)
I’m flabbergasted at how little of Partin’s work there is floating around out there in the interwebz–almost none of it on Tumblr.
Scanning the critical exposition on it, it’s easy to understand why–sadly, there’s a roughly two decade lag between what the gatekeepers of fine art will publicly endorse and great new work that is being made in the here and now.
Part of the problem is that critics–and I’m accusing myself just as much as anyone else–tend to shout about the easy connections. Folks want to contextual Partin as the heir apparent to Goldin and Clark.
It’s not that such connections are inaccurate it’s just that placing them side by side like that you emphasize a sort of insider’s perspective into the experience of counter culture youth. And that relationship simply isn’t borne out in the work.
Two more appropriate corollaries might be Ryan McGinley and Mark Steinmetz–the later as a result of the unmediated/unrehearsed immediacy of framing and McGinley’s fascination with youth culture is more in-line with the work than Clark; although even McGinely is problematic as he tends to fixate on fetishizing youth whereas Partin seems more interested in a sort of humanistic elegy.
Or, if you’re looking for brownie points: you could argue for interpreting the work as an allergic reaction to Winograd’s Women Are Beautiful.
Any way you slice it: it’s nearly meditative work that makes up for what it lacks in maturity and breadth of scope with a precocious and raw intimacy that somehow manages to avoid both documentary sterility and voyeuristic fixation.