Friday, February 3, 2012
Wednesday, February 1, 2012
I have always been interested in the idea of the sense of the passage of time in my work, from the first piece I made as a young artist in college through my most recent images. The piece I consider my initial artistic work (I was a printmaker at the time) is an etching that uses two photographs I knew from my childhood. Both images were taken in Europe; the first is of my grandparents and the second is of my father as a toddler. In the finished piece I combine these two photographs and add a third element, that of the landscape outside the window I worked in front of. All three images are joined, juxtaposed, entwined, with the limbs and vines of the trees outside the glass panes winding their way through bodies and turn-of-the-century hats. The result is a single image that implies many, and implies travel across ages. As a painter in the late eighties and early nineties, I worked with multiple images, building surfaces comprised of many sections, some lying one on top of another, all contributing to the sense of the passing of time. At the outset of my life with a camera I explored a sense of the ephemeral - extended moments, slowed, remembered time. I have returned to this kind of image making most recently, particularly in the grids I present here. The grid is the natural step for me in implying time passing. The construction forces one to move from frame to frame, jumping in small increments across the page or screen and making one note the eternal push forward in time and space.
I came to photography from painting, on a road that began with drawing and printmaking. Many years ago I took my first drawing class with Michael Mazur at Brandeis University. I studied printmaking there, and in Paris, at Atelier 17. I came home to become a painter, which occupied me for almost 20 years. I still think of myself as a painter, only with a camera instead of a brush.
The images I present here reference my early work, bring to life the charcoal drawings I did as a young artist. There is the speed in them of rushing by one’s subject, the smudge and reconsideration of the charcoal stick and knead-able eraser. They were taken out the window of a moving car while also moving the camera in just such a way, developed over years of taking these kinds of images, that they contain both points of clear focus one would have as one drives, or rides, as well as the acceleration and blur of a traveler. There is, in almost all, the deep rich black of a mezzotint, the silvery grey of an erased area and the bright whites in points or trails of the exposed paper beneath the layers of marks, blankets of grey/black. And in each one a tree, or trees, stand against the light, with mighty trunks or delicate branches, their leaves seemingly dancing with the great wind of the viewer passing.
A year ago, while rushing around taking down an exhibition, being in the next moment rather than the present one, I tripped and fell. The result of my fall was that I needed surgery to place a titanium plate in my wrist to hold together my radius which was shattered. I was also instructed to be on bed rest for 3 months as I had a pelvic fracture. This is all to say that for a good long time at the start of 2011 I was unable to use my camera. I discovered, after some weeks of heavy medication that I could use my iPhone in place of my two-handed camera for image making, an endeavor I find quite necessary for my wellbeing. It, the iPhone, is light enough and flexible enough to use with one hand. I documented and riffed on the interior of the room I was living in, the flowers my husband would bring home, even the images on the walls, making pictures of pictures. I found, after some time, that I became interested in photographing myself – a willing and always present subject. This portfolio is comprised of some of the many self-portraits I have taken over the last year. I found, even as I recovered, the lure of self-portraiture is great – as I noted, first and foremost, the ease of using oneself as sitter/model as well as the chance to improvise with a subject, eventually reaching a presentation of self that corresponds to what I imagine is the best of me, my most lovely visage, or even my most unflattering but perhaps most compelling; the possibility of myself as director/producer/cinematographer of a one woman show.