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Earthlings - Uri Korn

Earthlings - Uri Korn

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It's telling that although Uri Korn's photographs come from his trips across the country, the work he's showing at Oakland's Auto Gallery isn't so much about traveling. "The show's made from places that I lived in or spent time in," Korn says, explaining that although he would be open to documenting other countries, he's more interested in focusing on this one. "I just have a much better grasp on what's going on here."

What's going on here, according to Korn, is a lot of change. His photographs reflect the contradictory and absurd nature of existence in the wealthiest and most powerful nation on earth. Images of kitschy Americana -- a velvet Elvis, for instance, in the background of "The Barber's Break," taken in Boston -- frame otherwise stark locations. A young boy holds a gun in "Defense Mechanism," from Freesoil, Mich., with a herd of cows behind him.

Korn himself has lived on both coasts. A native of Florida, he went to Boston for college before coming to the Bay Area to study photography at the San Francisco Art Institute. This show culls his work over the past few years.

"There's a lot of disillusionment about where we're at and how we got there," Korn says. "A lot of people with good intentions and patriotic feelings are probably finding themselves confused. The national identity is changing."

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