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One Work

Sharon Lockhart: Pine Flat

By Howard Singerman

In his detailed study, Howard Singerman turns to Sharon Lockhart’s multipart work Pine Flat(2005), finding in its critical use of the pastoral, a place for childhood.

ISBN (paperback)



Sharon Lockhart’s Pine Flat is named for a small place in the foothills of the western slope of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, just inside the protected groves known as the Giant Sequoia National Monument. Realised between 2001 and 2005, the work has at least three discrete parts: two series of photographs and a 138-minute 16mm film, itself assembled of distinct and separable sections. The film element consists of twelve ten-minute vignettes, each a single take, of children in the landscape. The careful composition of each scene evokes the history of painting and photography as much as they do film. The camera is motionless, set at a distance from the children who scarcely move.

In his detailed study, Howard Singerman argues that Pine Flat employs notions of the pastoral to critically insist upon both the autonomy and community of children. In the film and in the photographs, the work presents a space where children have the right to their images; a space where they play out their interests removed of an overbearing adult world with all of its narratives, fears and desires. Singerman’s book explores the artist’s proposition of a place, however transitory, where childhood might be lived differently, imagined under an alternative order of power and possibility.

This title is part of the One Work book series, which focuses on the artworks that have significantly shaped the way we understand art and its history.

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