Rosie Brock was born in Charleston, South Carolina and raised in both Gulf Coast Florida and Virginia. Inspired by childhood observations and Southern gothic literature, her work explores how fable and fact are deeply intertwined throughout the American South. As an image-maker, she is predominantly interested in the relationship between the region’s underlying mythicism and the current socio-economic reality. Her work has been featured online on Juxtapoz and Booooooom. She has exhibited at The Annenberg Space for Photography in Los Angeles, California and Southside Gallery in Oxford, Mississippi. She is currently based in Manhattan, New York where she is completing her final year of the BFA Photography and Video Program at the School of Visual Arts.
And Ever Shall Be
The humid, temperamental climate and flat landscape of Gulf Coast Florida served as the backdrop to my childhood. Torrential storms would roll in on most late summer afternoons around three o’clock, leaving behind the distinct smell of steaming rain on sweltering asphalt. During Hurricane Season sometimes the streets would be so flooded that my sister and I journeyed throughout our neighborhood, known locally as “Flood Acres,” in an inflatable boat.
Enrolled in Christian school from ages five to thirteen, I grew up accustomed to the intertwinement of community and religion. Throughout the course of my childhood and early adolescence I was a white robed acolyte, a handbell player in the choir, and a puppeteer; advising congregants against the perils of sin under the guise of a smiling cloth doll. Every Wednesday evening before youth group, I attended church dinners– the menu consisting of lukewarm hot dogs, granular lemonade, and yellow sheet cake served underneath the fluorescent lights of the Fellowship Hall. I remember numerous gaunt men with greying ponytails resting on their weathered sunburned necks. I remember school secretaries with long acrylic nails and Tammy Faye Baker-esque makeup sipping Diet Coke in the morning, leaving red lip-marks behind on the aluminum can. It was these seemingly mundane happenings and individuals that fascinated me then as a child, and continue to entrance me now as an image-maker.
The years I spent living on the Gulf Coast and the regionally specific encounters I had there were a key motivation for this body of work. Amidst the oppressive July air and lingering smell of sweat, I sought out individuals and scenes reminiscent of my own youth. The resulting visual narrative is the manifestation of my rumination on the idealized concept of the American South and the continual realization that at many times this region defies the mythic qualities it has been ascribed. These photographs serve as an exploration of, and ode to, my nuanced relationship with this region, and my fascination with the dichotomy of stagnation and teeming vitality I have observed since childhood.
To view more of Rosie’s work please visit her website.