Tanya Marcuse’s series ‘Woven’ – weaving, allegorically and aesthetically, lush flora and fauna, both living and dead, in large scale photographs like medieval millefleurs* tapestries, to introduce time, decay and beauty of life and death.
Tanya Marcuse – Woven
“The 5 x 10 foot photographs sometimes take weeks to compose, and during this process of composition, of collecting, arranging, burning, painting, and transplanting, there is change. Flowers wither, spiders build webs, new shoots emerge, and corpses decay. Influenced both by the Dutch vanitas tradition and the allover graphic compositions of Jackson Pollock, I intend the photographs to be experienced as exquisitely detailed still lives when viewed from up close, but to hold together as an immersive, more abstract composition from further away.”
Inspired by the ancient Greek myth that lives of human beings were threads in the hands of three weaving women, the Fates (the Moirai), the artist elaborately assembled tableaux of creatures and plants, and stitched approximately 30 frames together to make a single image.
*Literally ‘thousand flowers’. Refers to a background style of many different small flowers and plants. It differs from many other styles of floral decoration in that many different sorts of individual plants are shown, and there is no regular pattern. The plants fill the field without connecting or significantly overlapping.
Katrin Korfmann’s project ‘Count for Nothing’ – a flat colored background as a stage set, in capturing the memory of a place like an invisible voyeur fascinated with observing people in motion from above.
Katrin Korfmann – Count for Nothing, Waiting for Julia
“My final image is a total fiction, involving dislocation, recombination and redirection. By using many impressions of one location merged into the final photograph, I want to recreate the experience that I have in my mind. The photograph is no longer a single moment but a river of accumulated images. This way, I propose an objective essence from a subjective experience that, in turn, can replace a memory in someone else’s mind… I intend to focus all attention on the people, without being preoccupied by the specifics of cultural background or location. The aerial perspective allows me to exclude the surroundings: architecture and any reference to a specific location.”
Tom Chambers’ series ‘Dreaming in reverse’ – surreal photomontages to a colourful journey through time to illustrate a dream of what has remained from the heart and beauty of Mexican landscape, and the authenticity of the lifestyle, culture, spirituality and magic.
Tom Chambers – Dreaming In Reverse
The artist’s return to Mexico after a twenty-five years visit and “experienced a country teetering on the brink of change created by increasing political and economic challenges, and exacerbated by the trappings of global consumerism. The Mexican people appeared handcuffed by demands largely outside of their control and threatened by the potential loss of their cultural richness. Employing magic realism, an art genre used in the early 20th century in Mexico, I have created images of Mexico which seem true and believable, but also perhaps improbable”.
Dornith Doherty’s project ‘Archiving Eden’ (2008 – ongoing) – the extraordinary visual power of x-rays photographs and collages of seeds and tissue samples stored in crucial world collections as poetic questions about life, time and our future, and the tension between stillness and change.
“I am struck by the power of these tiny plantlets and seeds (many are the size of a grain of sand) to generate life and to endure the time span central to the process of seed banking, which seeks to make these sparks last for two hundred years or more.”
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
The project started in a collaboration with seed banks to document their preservation efforts in the face of climate change and the extinction of natural species – a kind of Noah’s arks of planet’s botanical diversity. There are 1.400 such banks in the world and they range from small private to massive governmental institutions. They serve as a global botanical backup system to assure the opportunity for reintroduction of species in case of a catastrophic event or civil strife affect a key ecosystem somewhere in the world.
“Photographs are a trace of something that was recorded in the past and when you look at them in the present, there is that tension between the past and the present that makes the passage of time an underpinning element of all photography. These collections, these libraries of life preserve the present for the future that is so distant that can’t even be known… The use of the color delft/indigo blue evokes references not only to the process of cryogenic preservation, central to the methodology of saving seeds, but also to the intersection of east and west, trade, cultural exchange, and migration.
Dornith Doherty – Archiving Eden
To learn more about the project and the seed banks, there is an interesting and inspiring talk given by the artist at TED and a book published in 2017 with some of the photographs made by then.
Steve Macleod’s series ‘Li+’ – the epiphany of light: “the relationship with the stabilizing drug Lithium and how it affects my behavior”
Following to a psychiatric treatment with Lithium Carbonate, the artist started for his dark depression, the initial images of the landscape he made reflected the period of confused anxiety. As he started to respond to the medication he realized that though still is the same person, he was perceiving the environment in a different way. The hyper anxiety, fear and frustration were no longer a deep emotional burden and he created a stillness that experiences environmental aura with his own Pictorialist sensibility.
Bill Armstrong’s series ‘Partial Appearances’ – through exploring the magical transformation of layers of colours as a meditation on different sides of the self, identity and spiritual dilemma, and making up images into psychological fictions.
Bill Armstrong – Partial Appearances
“Appearances may or may not be real, and half-truths are often the best one can hope for. Identity, itself, is in question as the shift from the real to the “cyber” leaves the individual in a state of flux… With Partial Appearances I have found a new method of creating imagery that furthers my interest in the contrast and harmony of colors. On the simplest level, the use of layers is an apt metaphor for the increased number of layers that threaten to overwhelm the psyche, adding on more to the existing layers of anxiety, alienation, longing and isolation that can submerge contemporary individuals as they try to navigate a constantly shifting world.”
Jo Whaley’s series ‘The Theater of Insects’ – still lifes as theatrical scenes where butterflies and other insects are put on a fabricated imaginary background, to create visual dialogue about the deterioration and the imperfection following to the quintessential Japanese design aesthetic of wabi-sabi. Inspired by the old dioramas in natural history museums these images through the lie tell the truth of the transient nature of earthly things and the human inability to control the process.
Jo Whaley – The Theater of Insects
“There is a flicker of movement caught by the corner of my eye. I pause long enough from one of those questionably imperative tasks of the day, to ponder a minuscule, seemingly insignificant insect. If one carefully looks at the overlooked, a whole world presents itself. The appearances of insects range from those of menacing aliens to those of creatures of ornamental beauty. Their ingenious structures and designs are unique visual qualities that inspire awe. As an artist I find great aesthetic lessons in their strategies of mimicry, camouflage, and metamorphosis. Delightfully distracted, I am caught in the butterfly net of their visual forms and held absolutely mesmerized with wonder.
Like moths attracted to the light of a flame only to perish in that flight, I wonder if we, too, are tied to self-destruction through a drive toward greater technological heights. Conversely, we may be able to use technology and our creativity to become more integrated with nature. As always, the future is uncertain. Art and science are not so diametrically opposed. The practice of both begins with the intense observation of nature, which in turn sparks the imagination toward action. Just pause long enough to look. There is a flicker of hope fluttering in the collective peripheral vision.”
Abelardo Morell’s project ‘After Monet’ – a contemporary search of Monet’s artistic spirit within the landscape of the places where he lived and painted in France.
Abelardo Morell – After Monet
“The photographs were created during the summers of 2015 and 2016 in Monet’s Gardens in Giverny, Rouen and other regions in the Normandy coast. For this work I used my Tent/Camera. This device that I invented utilizes a periscope-like optical mechanism that brings nearby views directly onto whatever ground is beneath the tent. These photographs are the product of the visual sandwich of the projection and the ground. I love seeing how the changing ground surface alters the views into something half painterly, half photographic.”
“The term Samsara literally means world and ‘aimless wandering about’ with the connotation of and refers to the experience of the world around us and the way we perceive it. In Zen Buddhism the phenomenal world is ephemeral and impermanent therefore a mere illusion.
‘And if time is not real, then the dividing line that seems to lie between this world and eternity, between suffering and bliss, between good and evil, is also an illusion’
Johan Österholm’s series ‘Peculiar Motions at Dusk’ – “On an autumn day in the mid 1660s the young Isaac Newton found himself observing the orchard through the window of his study at Woolsthorpe Manor in Lincolnshire. As the afternoon descended into dusk and the moon appeared as a pale disc above the trees, he was startled by the sight of an apple dropping to the ground. ”Does the moon also fall?” he asked himself, as he returned to the worktable, and made a mental note for what would later become the Law of Universal Gravitation, the starting points for the Scientific Revolution.”