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Posts tagged: fine art photography

Using the Female Gaze to Look Inside the Self

Arielle Bobb-Willis. San Francisco, 2017.

Vortex.

Arielle Bobb-Willis. NYC, 2016.

What we see is informed by how we look at it. What gets framed, by who and to what end are some of the questions that occur whenever an image is introduced. In the realms of Western art and history, access has been limited to a select few who hold the power to use iconography to influence and shape ideas about “truth.”

It is only in recent times that the question of intent and exclusion have been put to the pantheon, calling out misinformation and marginalization, over and over again. At a certain point, one ceases to argue and decenter the narratives foisted upon us. Rather than shadowbox with a lie, we can choose to change the paradigm writ large.

Curators Jon Feinstein and Roula Seikaly did just this with An Inward Gaze, recently on view at Blue Sky Gallery in Portland. Here, they brought together the work of Arielle Bobb-Willis and Brittney Cathey-Adams, two women who make sculptural, performative images that liberates representations of gender, race, and body size from the strictures of the white male gaze.

Carrie Mae Weems Presents a Visual Symphony in Five Parts

Carrie Mae Weems, Slow Fade to Black (Nina Simone), 2010. 

Carrie Mae Weems, Color Real and Imagined, 2014.

Carrie Mae Weems, Anointed, 2017.

When Carrie Mae Weems made The Kitchen Table Series in 1990, she centered the intimate lives of Black women on the world stage, asserting the importance and impact of these tender moments of family and self-love at the very heart of her photographic practice. Her self-portraits were constructions of intergenerational experiences rooted in knowledge of self and the power of identity when made visible and centered as the basis for a work of art.

Weems’s practice in one rooted in knowledge of self, of the visceral need to create art and share it with the world. It is something that is done for the act, rather than the ends — and in this way it withstands the test of time, never falling prey to fads or trends.

“I don’t make work for the market. I create out of necessity, and so in one strange way, if we were to look at how my work might be received at Sotheby’s or at Christies when it goes up to auction, there’s frankly very little interest in my work,” Weems reveals in an interview with canadianart. “It has been historically undervalued. I think that most people are interested in beautiful things that don’t necessarily cause them to think very deeply about any one thing.”

Poignant Photos of Rescued Farm Animals in Their Twilight Years

Violet, a potbellied pig, age 12. Born with her rear legs partially paralyzed, Violet was surrendered to a sanctuary because her guardian could not properly care for her special needs.

Blue, an Australian Kelpie rescue dog, was a companion for 21 years.

Babs, a donkey, age 24.

Babs, a donkey, spent seventeen years of her life at a cattle ranch, where ranchers used her for roping practice. “Roping involves electrically shocking a donkey to make her run, chasing her on horseback, and then tossing a lasso around her neck or rear legs to pull her to the ground,” the photographer Isa Leshko writes in her book Allowed to Grow Old. “Donkeys endure this practice repeatedly until they are exhausted, maimed, or killed.”

The fantastical world of Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri

Luigi Ghirri

The art of order is imperative to the human condition. We appreciate the beauty and simplicity of everyday life: rows of trees and pots placed in unison; pastel-hued doors and shutters built in perfect form; white walls, white gates and white fences guarding our homes and the contents within.

Pioneer Artist & Model Ming Smith Reflects on a Life in Photography

Ming Smith. Grace Jones at Studio 54, 1978
archival pigment print, 30 x 40 inches

Ming Smith. Sun Ra Space II, New York City, NY, 1978
archival pigment print, 40 x 60 inches

In 1974, at the age of 23, Linda Goode Bryant opened Just Above Midtown (JAM), a non-profit New York arts organization dedicated to showing the work of artists of color in the heart of 57th Street, then the capital of the art world. Rent was a astonishing $300 per month, the 70% discount a testament to Goode Bryant’s negotiating prowess.

Like Goode Bryant, JAM was a revolution unto itself, with the intention to burn the art world down to the ground. JAM pioneered the works of now-renowned Black artists including Dawoud Bey, Norman Lewis, Senga Nengudi, Lorraine O’Grady, Howardena Pindell, Lorna Simposon, and Ming Smith — all of whom are being show at Frieze New York (May 2-5) as part of a special tribute to Linda Goode Bryant’s JAM Gallery from the 1970s.

The 2019 Frieze Stand Prize was awarded to Jenkins Johnson Gallery for their presentation of the work of photographer Ming Smith, whose contributions to the medium have recently come into clear focus. Hailing from Columbus, Ohio and educated at Howard University, Smith moved to New York in 1973 to live as an artist. To support herself, Smith joined the ranks of Grace Jones, Bethann Hardison, B. Smith, Sherry Bronfman, and Toukie Smith as the first generation of Black women to break the color barrier in the fashion and beauty industries,

Fashioning the Feminine Ideal in the Photos of Martine Gutierrez

Martine Gutierrez, Girl Friends (Rosella & Palma 4), 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez, Line Up 5, 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez, Girl Friends (Anita & Marie 3), 2014. 

Martine Gutierrez is a star, restoring performance art to its rightful place in the pantheon. As artist and muse, Gutierrez uses film and photography as a medium uses a crystal ball, gazing into the vast unknowable realm until an image occurs — a lyrical poem, a visual ode to the mellifluous construction of the feminine as a look, a lifestyle, and the glorious manifestation of luminous artifice.

In Life / Like: Photographs by Martine Gutierrez, now on view at Mount Holyoke College Art Museum through June 16, 2019, Gutierrez takes us deep insider her magical world, where hair and make up, costume and set, lighting and casting combine the pleasures of cinema, fashion, and design.

Featuring works from the series Girl Friends and Line Ups, Gutierrez surrounds herself with mannequins, taking playing with dolls to exquisite new heights. “Mannequins very succinctly represent the artificial, especially in materiality, when compared to the imperfect reality of the human body,” Gutierrez has said. “But in coaxing the viewer’s misinterpretation, misleading with light and guise, I am looking for the place where those two worlds meet.”

An Exquisite Study of the Sacred Feminine Realm, in Photos

For Mona Kuhn, the female nude is a vessel, a path, a portal to transcendence between the physical and spiritual planes. Liberated from the earthly draw of desire, it transforms from object to subject, to a state of becoming that is only possible when one is the protagonist of their own story and their own lives.

In She Disappeared into Complete Silence (Steidl), Kuhn takes Paul Nash’s Landscape from a Dream (1936-38) as her departure point and delves into the realm of photography to explore the surreal, symbolic realm of the California desert landscape, her model Jacintha, and elements of architecture to organize chaos. It is here that Kuhn embraces the space where light and shadow engage in exquisite interplay across a myriad of surfaces so that air becomes perfumed and potent, almost tactile itself. Light moves through these images like the hand of God, liberating us from the demands of the world and allowing us a moment of peace in our noisy and tiresome world.

Magical Photos of Childhood Summers in a Small Austrian Village

Alena plays with a cat and a cow. Merkenbrechts, August 2013

Victor is enjoying his mother’s legs. Merkenbrechts, July 2018

In her project I am Waldviertel, Dutch photographer Carla Kogelman travels to the Austrian region of Waldviertel to the small village of Merkenbrechts, population less than 200. Here, Kogelman transports us into an eternal moment of fleeting childhood summers, a moment where time eclipses in that it is both fast with outdoor adventure, and slow with restless boredom—imagination and play often being its only respite.

An Exhibition of Portrait Photos with a Surreal Twist

Time Dilation © Amelie Satzger

Femme Fiction #1 © Lauren Menzies

In conjunction with the Fourth Annual Feature Shoot Emerging Photography Awards, United Photo Industries (UPI) in Brooklyn, NY is showcasing the work of two awardees: Amelia Satzger and Lauren Menzies. These two artists were selected by Laura Roumanos, who is executive producer and co-founder of UPI and one of the jurors for the award. With United Photo Industries having a mission to exhibit thought-provoking and challenging photography, Roumanos has certainly chosen two artists whose work encompasses the organization’s ideals in ways that are both complimentary and striking in their contrast.

The Brooklyn Artist Reconnecting with Her African Roots

Blue Like Black, Argentina, 2018

Still from video short “the cleanse” 2017

Born in Crown Heights, Brooklyn, Adama Delphine Fawundu is the only first first-generation American of her siblings. Her brother and sister were born in Freetown, Sierra Leone and lived there until 1975, when Fawundu and her mother returned to bring them to the United States.

Fawundu would not return again until 1992, at the age of 21, during the Christmas holidays, during the first year of a decade-long civil war. Though she was unable to return to her homeland, Fawundu traveled the continent, visiting South Africa in 1995, early in Nelson Mandela’s presidency, as well as Ghana and Nigeria. And when she finally could come home, she brought two of her sons, then ages ten and seven, to create the foundation for a lifelong connection to the motherland.

Embracing the power of connection, Fawundu takes an expansive, inclusive approach, personifying the water spirit that connects Africa and its Diaspora using photography and film. In The Sacred Star of Isis, now on view at Crush Curatorial in New York through April 6, Fawundu travels the globe to create images from the New York State forests and the waters of the coast of Freetown, Sierra Leone, to cities within Argentina, a place known to systematically attempt to erase its Black presence.

The exhibition includes “the cleanse,” Fawundu’s first film — a glorious celebration of rhythm and ritual contained in the moments when Fawundu places her perfectly pressed tresses under the shower and begins to wash her hair, an incantation filled with magic, power, and wisdom. Here, Fawundu shares her journey creating The Sacred Star of Isis.

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