Blood Harmony

Blood Harmony

Photographs by J Gray Swartzel

April 13 – 26, 2014

Speaking of her childhood, Mother spoke of impromptu musical interludes carried out under the gentle wafts of pipe smoke in the living room where her father and extended family would make bluegrass melodies. She described their flawlessly seamless voices and instruments producing a calming environment of mental oblivion- they would harmonize to escape themselves as members of a struggling, dysfunctional family in the American South. When “blood harmony” emerged from Mother’s lips, I was struck with an overwhelming sense of those words manifesting themselves profoundly within me and my work.

Blood Harmony developed out of the themes of love, vulnerability, and the spectrum of gender performance, but ultimately it is a fantastical photo series loosely based on my autobiographical narrative. Life’s caveat is death and someday my parents will be gone, but their image and constructed identities will live on through my work. The dramatic process of using Mother and Father as subjects inspired me to make visual both the maternal and paternal spaces within which I function as a son, artist, photographer, feminist, and queer director. Blood Harmony’s photographic and conceptual investigation has helped me to see that my existence has the capacity to encompass a lived political identity in which my purpose is to visually articulate my position as a queer activist through image making.


Opening Reception: Friday, April 18, 6 – 9 pm; Enjoy live jazz by Elmer Gibson, friendly company, and even friendlier drink. The event will be catered by Loaf and Ladyfingers of Raleigh.

Artist Talk: Thursday, April 24, 7 pm

Related Events

Reading: Tuesday, April 15, 7:30 pm


Friday – Sunday
12 – 3pm
+ see our calendar for related events

The Carrack is closed. Information for archival purposes only.