Using the title of her 2004 photograph, My Mother, My Son, as an inspirational and creative starting point, Mary Frey pulls from her vast archive of photographs to create a pictorial story collapsing linear time. Frey intimately and masterfully captures subjects at ease in environments that feel, at once, wholly familiar yet unmoored from their own reality. Using as its base the intersection of the domestic, the banal and the profoundly common rituals which define our shared humanity, the black and white and color images in My Mother, My Son. present the viewer with something more reminiscent of memory’s elusive imprint. Frey touches upon the mystery of life: the finite ending point of death and the legacies that are left behind. Past and future join together in each present, fleeting moment. With a tipped-in chromogenic print on its cover, My Mother, My Son. stylistically echoes a family album both commemorative and permanent, if only in the story it chooses to present.
‘Real Life Dramas’ is a time machine, its images transporting us 35 years into the past, transplanting our reality to an indeterminate place in the United States. Mary Frey’s hyperreal photographs capture charged banalities on large-format film, pictures of middle-class children, adolescents, and adults that together seem less of a reportage than a psychogram. She offers drama, in the sense of interpretations of human experience that are cogent and valuable on their own terms, but not the dramatic. The images are positioned somewhere between snapshot and enactment, intimacy and distance, yet nothing aspires or demands to be taken as more than it actually is.