James Baroz

I'll Be Home When The Tiger Lilies Bloom

I'll Be Home When The Tiger Lilies Bloom

Compiled from photographs taken during Baroz’s final months of college and ensuing post-grad malaise, I’ll Be Home When the Tiger Lilies Bloom records the artist’s vacillation between a forlorn longing for the security and certainty of home and the urgent desire to define one’s identity at the precipice of young adulthood. While previous projects explored these impulses through the documentation of densely populated subcultural scenes, the photographs featured in I’ll Be Home portray decidedly more intimate moments between the gaze of the lens and its subject. Its pages contain a diaristic constellation of friends, lovers, and self-portraits interspersed among vacant landscapes and domestic still-lifes.

The images within I’ll Be Home are delicately experimental; strange yet affectionate in their documentation of the off-kilter, unrefined dream of seeing oneself with unjaded eyes. Constantly striving to convey the immediacy of his subject’s vitality, the artist eschews staged compositions in favor of spontaneous snapshots. Baroz’s dreamlike images echo the forms of one another, collapsing their temporality between past and present memory. Among all is a pervasive awareness of the body, whether through its conscious self-stylization or its absence. Even in the dusty corners of chipped window sills and the oblong stretch of a bar, the coupling of innocuous objects evoke the yearning for others and the shared spaces we inhabit. All emanating a tungsten aura of yearning and gaze of tenderness.

Prominent among the selected photographs are those featuring Baroz’s partner, Mil, in both public and private settings. The viewer observes as she fashions her identity through rituals of self-care, sartorial expression and her chosen kinship— a projection of the artist’s own preoccupation with the formation of identity in relation to the self and others. Baroz interrogates his own performance of masculinity through a series of self-portraits which utilize mirrors to visualize the fissures of the intangible interior self and the physical body as the distorted figure in a broken, grimy bathroom mirror.

By turning the lens inward onto his inner circle, Baroz’s close relationships to his subjects permits a more intimate perspective onto their lives and anxieties as young adults coming of age. Their degrees of emotional uncertainty are affirmed by the at-times hazy or out-of-focus photographs, and whose gestures are at times difficult to decipher between vulnerability, isolation, and exhilaration.

Sheridyn Villarreal 

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