Patrick Willocq‘s photographs from ‘I am Walé Respect Me’ are utterly unique, give us a different view, an artistic vision of life in the Democratic Republic of Congo. A place only known for its corruption, conflict and savagery.
Chris Poppos photographs are online under the moniker ‘Strange Birds’. A suitable name for an artist who creates mysterious images. There is nothing about him anywhere. Only these pictures. These incredibly atmospheric black and white images of a woman in a forest, a room, on a bed.
Peter Vahlefeld‘s paintings combine analog and digital photographs and paint on canvas, each picture a subversion, a riposte to the rampant consumerism that engulfs society and in particular the art world. By re-appropriating gallery and auction house advertisements as well as gift shop souvenirs found in museums Vahlefeld destroys the meaning of the materials, sucks out the content and form of these consumerist tokens and regurgitates them in a style that lies somewhere between abstract expressionism and pop art.
Shawne Brown‘s photographs from ‘Sensabaugh Hollow’ give us an interesting insight into the notion of place. What it is, how we articulate a particular location, a space that has resonance for us, is imbued with memories and stories, history and emotions.
Paulina Otylie Surys photographs are sumptuous Gothic images rooted in classical painting, 19th Century photographic techniques, such as wet plate collodion, and her passion for fashion, literature, history, religion and mythology.
Stephen Thorpe‘s paintings are intensely physical pictures of imaginary places. They bend physics, displace us, disorient us as we try to make sense of the interior we’re looking into, staring at. Using oil, canvas and expanding foam he builds immaculate images that are rooted in ancient friezes, fragments of murals whose roughly hewn edges seem incongruous when viewed in relation to the exquisite rendering of the objects within the paintings.
David Kasnic‘s photographs from ‘Columbia Collection’ start with Woody Guthrie who moved to Oregon to write 26 songs about the Columbia river and the building of the Grand Coulee Dam in 1941. The songs came out of a frustration with his own career in New York and the censorship laws that prevented his music from reaching an audience who longed for the truth in a censored America gripped by war.
Hosni Radwan’s paintings are rooted in the West Bank, in the history of the Palestinian Territories and his home city of Ramallah that has been systematically destroyed by the Israeli Defence Forces over the last 30 years.
Nadia Lee Cohen’s photographs from ‘Mr & Mrs Teavee’ wallow in Americana, her pictures celebrating bright saturated pop colours, set hair, loud make-up, garish patterns and television surreality of the 1950′s, 60′s and 70′s. Her playful appropriation of advertising and cinematic tropes colluding to entrap us in an overblown fantasy. A construction we all know but have never touched, a flat surface we all understand through mass media.
Justin Kimball‘s photographs from ‘Dreamers’ are a beautiful study in lost thought, in those wonderful small moments we occasionally fall into, when time falls away and we’re left in the moment, oblivious to the pressures of the everyday, the stresses of the mundanity of life.
Joe Gegan‘s paintings are physical pictures, an assault on the eyes, a building up of form, colour and texture, each a re-appropriation of old pictures – of his and other artists – that are collaged to create something new; a mutation, a second coming, a rebirth of an old image.
Lara Shipley and Antone Dolezal‘s photographs from ‘The Devils Promenade’ take us on a spooky adventure into the Ozark mountains – that covers much of the southern half of Missouri, Arkansas, north-eastern Oklahoma and south-eastern Kansas – into a region that’s both rooted in religion and folklore and blighted by poverty and drugs.
Stefanie Schneider‘s photographs from ‘29 Palms, CA‘ are part of an ongoing project that takes place in a trailer park community in the Californian desert. It’s a long term project that combines still Polaroid images and voice overs and to date Schneider has made six films in the desert including; ‘Hitchhiker’, ‘Rene’s dream’, ‘Sidewinder’, ‘Till death do us part’, ‘Heather’s dream’ and ‘The girl behind the white picket fence’. It’s an incredible story and a fascinating portrait of the American West that’s filled with characters revealing their innermost thoughts, their ambitions, memories, hopes, fears and dreams.
The Polaroid stills are beautiful images, the expired film creating an aesthetic that is truly emblematic of the hot searing climate of the desert, each picture giving us a sense of the surreal atmosphere of an American culture that is indelibly intertwined with contemporary film, literature, music and art. A culture that we all know, believe we know, the landscape of our collective imagination.
There is something inherently ephemeral about these pictures, as if they’re temporary, on the edge of reality only to fade away into a distant memory, the characters captured on the edge of oblivion only to disappear into the light of cinematic history. It’s a romantic statement rooted in Schneider’s love of Americana, of coming from a congested Europe into the open spaces of the desert through the classic films of Hollywood; ‘Badlands’, ‘Red Desert’, ‘Zabriskie Point’, ‘The Last Picture Show’ and ‘Thelma And Louise’.
This love of American culture combined with her use of expired Polaroid instant film – which she enlarges by hand in her studio – gives us a glimpse into this land of excitement, danger and romance. It’s the synthesis of a dream, of a cultural landscape that only exists within our minds, a place we desire, want to escape to, the endless horizon of possibility and hope. On her project website she has this to say about her work:
The world depicted in the film combines the notions of reality and fantasy and explores the resonance of both within a desert landscape and a transient culture. The characters depicted in the film, (an actress, a singer, a DJ, a motel owner and his wife, an US army soldier, a mystic, a princess, a recluse, a movie ticket seller, two hitchhikers, a doctor, a director, etc.), are played by both actors and non-actors. The story is constructed through the interpretation of real life communications (i.e. phone calls, emails, conversations) that have taken place as the individuals depicted in the story try to make sense of events that have occurred in real life. In this sense the story is, in part, a biography and social commentary, and the characters are the exaggerated alter egos of the individuals who play them.
This is a complex project. Is deeply rooted in various art forms, has longevity, is a set within itself, an ongoing narrative which Schneider is always returning too. It’s well worth your while having a look at it. There is alot to take in, to see, to get involved in.
Jennifer May Reiland‘s illustrations from ‘Florence Farmborough’s Dream’ are typical of this young artists deep love of history and the deep primal connections we seek to make between each other. Connections we call supernatural, religious, spiritual.