Saturday, December 8, 2007


I saw the Gregory Blackstock opening at Garde Rail gallery on Thursday night, and Mr. Blackstock himself happened to be there.

Blackstock, who is autistic, worked for 25 years as a dishwasher in the kitchen of the Washington Athletic Club. For many years he has been drawing comprehensive catalogs of all sorts of things: train cars, hand saws, birds, violins, fruits, etc. The drawings are charming and meticulous, rich with detail. Blackstock draws exclusively from memory, obsessively observing and recording the many categories of things that capture his attention. Five years ago, his drawings came to the attention of Karen Light, the owner of Seattle's Garde Rail Gallery, who immediately saw their beauty and arranged to display several dozen of them. Since that time he has had several exhibitions and a beautiful book of his lists, Blackstock's Collections, has been published by Princeton Architectural Press.

The new show featured drawings of firecrackers, turnips, sheet music and maple sugar candies. Blackstock whirled from drawing to drawing giving a noisy and scattered tour of his recent work. As he explained the different firecrackers in this picture he gave a rendition of their sound effects, one by one, working his way down the list. "Ka-BOOM! Krak krak krak! Pa-Pa-PANG!"

The show is on display through January 26.

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