Photo Review: Boxed Steel


Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

Jared Stanley’s “Boxed Steel” opened at the Texas Tech Satellite Gallery this first Friday. Stanley’s photo lithographs portray collaged scenes from public funerals, capturing both real (historical) events, dramatizations of real events, and fictional events from film and television. All purport to portray each funeral attendee’s grief at the loss of the deceased, the context of the funeral, and the roles each attendee seems to be playing in the display of public grief.


Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

Whether ‘real’ or not (one can’t tell just from looking at a given piece), the expressions and actions of those in the images earnestly convey grief. This is of course part of the point; you can’t tell if a weeping woman or somber man is conveying grief at the loss of a ‘real’ person or not.

Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)


Stanley selectively presents gender roles through mourners as well; there are no weeping men and few merely somber women. The combined effect is to point out and question the validity of the modes of expression different groups are allowed/encouraged to exhibit in public grief (or indeed any public display of emotion). It is neither preaching nor overtly politicized work, but it succinctly gets to the point with very little necessary context.


Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

It works as an unadorned, clear exposition on how holders of male and female roles are allowed and expected to grieve in public, what constraints are on them, and how formulaic these constraints and expectations truly are. Jared is a Ph.D. candidate in visual and performing arts at Texas Tech.

Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

Jared Stanley: Boxed Steel, TTU Satellite Gallery (Photos courtesy of the artist)

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