Peculiar Symbiosis, 2016 - Ongoing
This series of photomontages in diptych form explore the manipulation and transformation of art historical facts into photographic fiction. I am interested in challenging the traditional masculine gaze of the old master paintings I photograph by dissecting the paintings into small parts and liberating the pieces from their original context. The photographic artifacts can then be re-interpreted, distorted and manipulated to produce alternative narratives.
I use the diptych format to explore the shifting nature of memory and how interpretation of information is altered by gender, context and time. The diptych as a whole offers a narrative that questions and subverts the facts of the original image, while each part a tells a different version of that newly constructed narrative.
I construct my photomontages so they that initially appear to be historic paintings and provoke the viewer to question the medium and veracity of the image. My intention is to create an image that wavers between dualities: painting and photograph, part and whole, reality and fiction, past and present, male and female. Within the open-ended narratives of the pseudo historic images, I hope the viewer recognizes contemporary themes about conflict, anxiety, and identity.
Seductive Deception (2015 – 2017)
As an art history major in college, I studied master works and learned how each one contributed to the visual narrative of a particular style, time period, religion, or culture. I learned that iconic works of art were unique and priceless, to be guarded and venerated like sacred truths. Now I approach those same paintings as a curious photographer, questioning and dissecting them with each exposure. The fractured pieces are manipulated and transformed into a remix. The novelty and drama of the remix is seductive and deceptive.
The pictures I take of old master paintings represent selected facts. The camera frame isolates and fragments, removing parts from their original context. The photographs now liberated from the original artworks are like memories subject to interpretation, distortion and manipulation. Elements from various paintings are woven into constructed narratives inspired by experiences, dreams, fears and fantasies. The surrealistic tableaux question and subvert the facts of the original images. My intention is to create an image that wavers between dualities: painting and photograph, reality and fiction, past and present, true and false.
The 15”x20” archival pigment prints are mounted on hardboard and covered with layers of encaustic medium that creates a rich, luminous, and irregular surface. The wax and mounting technique provides the digitally manipulated photographs with a tactile and physical presence that evokes the historic artwork that inspired them.
Secret Art Histories (2014-2016)
There are secret stories hidden beneath the sumptuous surface of old master portraits. The paintings, unchanged for decades, are relics of idealized beauty, wealth and privilege. The subjects gaze at each other across the museum gallery, isolated by frames, genres, time period. The modern day viewer visits the museum and moves fluidly from one gallery to the next. Pausing, looking, passing by, remembering bits and pieces. The experience is a visual palimpsest as one work becomes entwined with another.
I gather the elements used to create the multi-layered and surrealistic compositions by photographing original paintings hanging in museums. I transform, manipulate, and interweave photographs of multiple paintings to construct a historic painting that was never painted. I hope the viewer shares my sense of eerie familiarity with the newly constructed narratives, recognizing shifting memories, fragmented dreams, and dark secrets within.
Specimens & Unnatural History (2004-2012)
Unnatural History draws upon the historic origins of the cyanotype process to create pseudo-scientific illustrations of hybrid creatures that explore the relationships between science, nature, humanity, and technology. While the blue color of cyanotypes is most often associated with architectural plans, one of the earliest uses of the antique photographic process was for scientific illustration. Anna Atkins, one of the first women photographers, used the cyanotype process to record botanical specimens and published British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions in 1843. It was the first book to make use of photographic illustration and it is a beautiful synthesis of science and art. Specimens evolved from the Unnatural History series. The images in Specimens are digital photomontages consisting of insects and other small creatures embellished with vintage costume jewelry fittings. By incorporating the frames and backgrounds of antique photographs, the surrealistic creatures appear to be suspended in 19th daguerreotypes. In order to further articulate their connection to historic photographic processes they are printed onto metal plates.