by Ann Landi, 2012

Strange things happen after dark, when night falls and the streetlights go on and the eerie illumination of fluorescence, neon, and ordinary light bulbs kicks in. We find a world leached of natural light, especially in urban areas where even the brightest moon and stars can’t compete with manmade means of keeping total darkness at bay.

In “Night Moves” photographer Ginny Mangrum continues preoccupations that governed her earlier works,especially the series she calls “Presence of Absence” (2003) and “Intimate Immensity” (2004). Both find the chilling beauty in unoccupied urban venues—an empty stadium, a highway overpass, an airport terminal, a parking lot with no cars. There is a formal rigor and a severe geometric appeal to many scenes from the two series, where the gleaming curl of an
escalator or the stark polish of a marble floor have a kind of seductive Bauhaus allure. “I select spaces that have minimal signifiers to create an intentional void for viewers,” the artist says, “a place where they can have their own experiences without being guided by signage or artifacts.”

These concerns carry over into “Night Moves” but at a much more intimate level. Here is the porch of a weathered family home by night, protected by trees and a fence, and watched over by two upstairs windows that seem to send out a stern warning to intruders. The many-paned windows of an overstocked department store are protected by a pair of headless mannequins. An empty office appears desolate without its human occupant, the desk offering up only a few bleak reminders of someone’s working life. A movie theater is similarly joyless without a rapt audience, only the glowing screen and two interior lights, like animal’s eyes, providing illumination. A restaurant, partially dominated by a festive umbrella, is anything but, since no one is eating, talking, or laughing in this space. Even a subway car, which would normally burst with human activity, opens its doors onto a soulless jail.

And yet these photos, often framed by a deep black border, have a curiously seductive and mysterious air: They have a life of their own even when there is no life present. They are reminiscent of Edward Hopper’s spaces—the diners and theaters, offices and bedrooms—which would still offer up a sense of puzzling desolation even without their inhabitants. These are the spaces we’ve built for ourselves, both Mangrum and Hopper say to us, and they will continue to resonate when we’re not there.

In “Night Moves Portraits,” Mangrum turns her eye on people for the first time, and the results are similarly provocative.
“They are about catching people between experiences,” she says, and therefore about capturing them off guard. She also brings into play a subtle range of colors, and hints at the human drama without telling us what to think or how to respond. Is Cancer (2011) about a man getting the bad news, and if so why is the shadowy woman at right smiling at the verdict? Is Pensive (2011) thinking about a bad choice in entrées, waiting for a date,or musing on his future? The states of mind of her subjects are unfathomable, but we all know those moments of blankness when a real emotion is still waiting to be felt.

Whether her subjects are people or places, Mangrum has a fine eye for composition that keeps us ever so slightly off balance. The lonely structure in House (2007) could easily have been centered to give it a more familiar and “homey” appeal; siting it to the right of the picture space keeps us off-guard even as its glaring upstairs windows warn us not to approach too closely. Sometimes it’s the ambiguity of space and action that prove so arresting: The young subject of Traveler (2011) fiddles with some unspecified packet while being trapped between unidentifiable barriers.

Mangrum’s work from these two series reminds us that her images belong to both the worlds of photography and painting. The Hopper analogy is an easy one, but I see also in her gleaming surfaces reminders of Fernand Léger’s delight in the machine-made world or in her portraits the unsettling off-center compositions of Edgar Degas (compare Pensive, though he’s most likely imbibing only designer water, with the lonely middle-aged drinkers in The Glass of Absinthe). And the fiercely concentrating girl of Traveler is as intent on her task as Vermeer’s
Lacemaker (notice how her hands are similarly lit and poised to perform some equally finicky task).

But these are first and foremost photographs, and as such real documents of the way we live now and the spaces we inhabit. They are not remote in time, and the viewer can bring to them the special resonance of his or her own experiences in the world.


Mills College, Studio Art, Oakland, California, 2007
Masters of Fine Art

California College of the Arts, Oakland, California, 2004
Bachelor of Fine Arts, Photography, graduated with distinction

San Francisco Art Institute, San Francisco, California, 2003
Summer Interdisciplinary Studies, in Florence/Pienza, Italy

dnj Gallery, Santa Monica, Los Angeles, CA since 2007

Solo Exhibition
Intimacy Immensity, South Gallery, California College of the Arts, Oakland, CA, 2004

Home, NYU, Kimmel Galleries, New York, NY, 2012
Bay Area Currents, Pro Arts,Oakland, CA 2012

Faculty Exhibition, Diablo Valley College, Art Gallery, Pleasant Hill, CA 2011

Voyeurism, Brooklyn Artists Gym, Brooklyn, NY, 2011

Photo II, Illinois Institute of Art, Gallery 180, Chicago, ILL, 2011

Roll Call, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA 2010

Alumnae Collection, California College of the Arts Alumnae Online Gallery, Oakland, CA, 2010

Night Lights, dnj Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

Serenity 2009, UCSF Center for Reproductive Health, San Francisco, CA, 2009

Paper Works, Marin MOCA, juried by Oakland Museum Curators, Marin CA, 2008

Night Moves with Suburbia & Leisure (Bill Owens), dnj Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2007

Marketplace, Rayko Photography Center, San Francisco, CA, 2007

Patho-logical, MFA Thesis Exhibition, Mills College, Oakland, CA, 2007

Auction, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, CA, 2007

Terror, Intersection for the Arts, San Francisco, California, 2006

Presence of Absence, Point 360, San Francisco, CA, 2005

Luminescence, Maryland Hall for the Creative Arts, Annapolis, MD, 2005

ArtSeen, Research Alliance, AIDS Foundation, juried, W. Hollywood, CA, 2005

Passagi, Palazzo Piccolomini Gallery, Pienza, Italy, 2003

"Night Moves - House", Pamela Schoenberg, DNJ Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2008

"Luminescence- Acceptance", Barbara Schauffer, Lafayette, CA, 2005

"House" & "Windows", New York University, NY, 2012
"House" Pamela Schoenberg, Los Angeles, CA 2012
"Subway", Illinois Institute of Art, Chicago, 2011

PRESS articles
Danielle. Art Bust Chicago Blog, Photo ’11 Captivating Views of Reality, Chicago, ILL, 2011

Blais, Carolyn. Forth Magazine, Night Lights at DNJ Gallery, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

Calder, Diane. Night Lights, Visual ArtSource Los Angeles, CA 2010

Diablo Valley College Newsmakers. DVC Newsletter, DVC Art Instructor Ginny Mangrum Has Work Featured in L.A. Gallery Exhibit,2010

Fine Arts LA. The Nocturnes, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

Kussatz, Simone. Publications By, dnj’s exhibit Night Lights,2010

Leib, Rebecca. ArtLtd, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

Modenessi, Jennifer. Featured Artist Night Moves: What’s Not There Draws You In. Sunday Insert - Time Out, Contra Costa Times, CA,2007

Vecellio, Kathryn. Artist to Watch, SFVoice, SF, CA, 2007

Vecellio, Kathryn. Interview with Ginny Mangrum, SFVoice, SF, CA, 2007

PRESS releases
Artnet.com. Night Lights, Los Angeles, CA, 2010

Free Press. Bay Area Photographer Ginny Mangrum in Exhibit at dnj Gallery,

dnj Gallery Announces Exhibition of Bill Owens and Ginny Mangrum, dnj Gallery, Los Angeles, CA 2007

Adjunct Professor, Diablo Valley College, Pleasant Hill, CA, 2009-2011

Lectured, demonstrated and instructed photo art concepts, photo art history and traditional wet room and dry darkroom, printing and developing.

Mentor, First Exposures, Camerawork Organization, and San Francisco, CA, 2007-2009

Worked with kids at risk, taught techniques of digital and wet darkroom photography, guided students through the exhibition process, prepared artwork for exhibitions

Teaching Assistant, Catherine Wagner Photography Workshop, Mira Roth, Women's Art History, Mills College, Oakland, CA, 2006-2007

Internship, Rayko Photography Center, San Francisco, CA, 2007-2008

Gallery work, database input, reception, art handling and shipping,

Internship, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA, 2004-2005

Greeted gallery visitors, exhibition gallery art preparation, art handling and shipping, routine administrative duties

Volunteer, Dean Lesher Regional Center for the Arts, Bedford Gallery, Walnut Creek, CA, 2001-2002

3rd Ward Summer Open Call, juried finalist, 2011

Everything is Art, Book, Everythingisart.com, September, 2011

Roll Call, Book, SF Camerawork, San Francisco, CA, 2010

Herringer Family Foundation Prize, Oakland, CA, 2007

Graduate Research Grant, Mills College, Oakland, CA, 2006

Herringer Family Foundation Award, Mills College, Oakland, CA,2006

Graduate Research Grant, Mills College, Oakland, CA, 2005


Meamorphism.org Art & Technology Movement, Fundraising Committee Member, 2013

Town of Danville Village Theater Art Gallery
Curatorial Jury Committee Member, 2013