November 22 - December 31, 2008
Curated by Rick Chapman
Looking at Sean Thackery’s photographs is not unlike tasting his famous wine. Both experiences depend on our active involvement in detecting what is not overt, but rather the richness of what is subtle and refined. Thackery is a complex man with many talents and passions. He is known internationally as an extraordinary winemaker: in the most unpretentious setting in a Bolinas eucalyptus grove, he makes rare, acclaimed and highly sought after wines. He translates ancient winemaking texts, he owned a gallery in San Francisco, he is an eclectic collector, an ever-curious intellectual and was trained in art history. All of these interests relate to his photographic choices. He follows his own intuition and trusts his own instinct for what is exceptional. For this selection of photographs, his eye finds sensuality in the ordinary, as in light in tree limbs and even the layered texture of dirt and gravel. His images are reminiscent of the complexity and flair that he brings to his wine making; they reveal themselves as one pays attention to the nuances.
A quote from an interview about his winemaking, seems to apply to his process as a photographer as well:
Someone once asked me why they should buy my wines, when there are so many others out there; I replied that there are many people out there, too, but only a few are friends. They aren’t interchangeable, and I like the thought that my wines would be prized in the same way – for offering pleasures uniquely their own. Of course this means my wines will have an equally individual audience, for that very same reason; after all, while they may be my friends, they won’t be everybody’s. :: So I like to think of myself as making wine first of all for myself, not from ego, but as a plain necessity of procedure. I have to make the decisions and carry out the work, and I don’t know any way to do that other than to proceed according to my own pleasures. But this does simplify the question of offering those pleasures for sale: since I never offer wines I don’t enjoy drinking myself, my entire “marketing strategy” is simply to find those whose pleasures agree. Some don’t; no doubt there must be wine-drinkers who can’t imagine why anyone would like my wines; but then, there are far more than I can supply who think they’re some of the best wines they’ve ever tasted.