This exhibit is a selection of images from a documentary book project taken in the French Quarter of New Orleans during the annual Mardi Gras celebration. “Much of my work is a lyrical document of what I term extreme people,” says Purcell. “I’m capturing street theater and making portraits of people whose personal limits are different than the norm. With these thin slices of time I’m looking for cracks in reality so that I may peer beneath the surface and question the nature of reality…the work is both cultural anthropology and art.”
Purcell’s work references noted photographer Diane Arbus, famous for her shocking portraits of dwarfs, giants, transvestites and ordinary citizens in strange poses and settings. Like Arbus’ portraits, Purcell’s photographs contain many details, yet his subjects’ intentions remain ultimately mysterious. As Purcell has described,” This work concerns abnormal behavior and it’s seemingly harmlessness when done in a context of like-mindedness.
Purcell’s interest in these extremes has led him to document places like flea markets and Burning Man for the past 10 years. Naughty Gras, a book of over two hundred images in an art format, will be published in the Fall of 2008. The Huge Ass Beers To Go will be closed on March 22, 2008.