Blackwood’s interpretation of Surrealism is inspired by waking dreams which occur during the period when one is neither fully awake nor fully asleep. During this liminal state, the mind can produce surprisingly vivid tableaus of rearranged fragments of unrelated memories. It is from this pseudo-conscious state that these composite photographs are derived.
Blackwood employs mythical archetypes in this visual equation to assist the viewer’s ability to create their own narrative while employing their own subconscious associations. Corvids, in particular crows and ravens, are frequent subjects in Blackwood’s compositions. Their iconic ubiquity in myth, folklore, and literature make them vehicles for Surrealist projections and narratives. They are often placed near another universal iconic symbol, the circle, as it occurs in mandalas, mazes, and other graphic and organic configurations that can add additional significant meaning to a composition.
Blackwood, while practicing photography for 40 years, is mostly a self-taught artist. By transposing photographs, patterns, and imagery popular in the Western art scene, Blackwood is able to push the traditional boundaries of his medium and subject matter. Blackwood’s new approach to animals of the Yellowstone/Glacier geography, such as crows, ravens, buffalo, and magpies, are fused with literary, cultural, and mythical icons to create a universe that, while calm and placid, can be simultaneously dystopian.
Born and raised in Kansas, Blackwood has lived in Montana for over three decades. He worked as a Statistician for 30 years, all the while pursuing photography on the side, until 2007, when he decided to focus art alone. Blackwood has had major solo exhibitions in the West, including Wichita Art Museum; Museum of Idaho in Idaho Falls, ID; Viewpoint Photographic Center in Sacramento, CA; and at Montana State University and the Emerson Cultural Center for the Arts in Bozeman, MT. His work has been published in major fine art photography publications including Lenswork, B&W, Shots, Color, and the Best of Photography Annual. Awards in international photography competitions include the World Photography Awards and the B&W Spider Awards. Blackwood currently resides in Bozeman and has become a fixture in the local art scene while organizing several Bozeman Art Salons each year.
Synthesizing Icons is a MAGDA exhibit. The Montana Art Gallery Directors Association (MAGDA) was organized in 1972 through the cooperative efforts of Montana’s gallery directors.