Debe Arlook, Diana Cheren Nygren, Najee Dorsey, Cathy Cone, Miren Etcheverry, Dennis Geller, Bill Gore, Marcy Juran, Deborah Kaplan, Lisa Ryan and Gordon Saperia
March 9 – June 9, 2021
Virtual Exhibition Reception/Artist Talk April 25, 2021 4pm EST
The artists in this exhibition are:
Natural or human-made disasters are often far removed or so infrequent that they do not impact our daily lives. 2020 brought a halt to that for Americans and people worldwide. Magnified fear and anxiety are now commonplace as both children and adults respond to unprecedented stressors. Prevailing systems (political, economical, healthcare, social) in need of reform have polarized global populations. As a long time student of spiritual studies, I’ve thought a lot about how meditation calms the nervous system. A dedicated meditation practice can nurture compassion, which leads to awareness, acceptance and inclusion of all beings.
The title Foreseeable Cache refers to awakening the soul’s memory and represents what meditation feels like to me. This series is inspired by 19th century painters and photographers of the American West including Albert Bierstadt, Thomas Moran, Eadweard Muybridge and Carlton Watkins. Their interpretations of sublime and idyllic landscapes communicate a connection with the sometimes harsh yet exquisite and mystical lands. The external landscape is a metaphor for the internal landscape of the mind and soul, each image offering a glimpse into moments of mindful awareness.
Banding marks represent the thinking mind and physical noises that intercede during meditation. These in-camera compositions are made in the sublime beauty of the American West where land is sacred and body, mind, spirit and heart connect. Qualities are associated with Native American beliefs and practices that are often appropriated.
Diana Cheren Nygren
Surroundings play a dominant role in shaping experience. Born out of three series, this project imagines city dwellers searching for moments of relief in a world shaped by climate change, and the struggle to find a balance between an environment in crisis and manmade structures. The beach becomes rising tides, threatening the very foundation of the city. The clash of nature and city results in an absurd profusion of visual noise and little relief. The resulting images lay bare challenges to city planners, and the problematic nature of the future that lies ahead for humanity and the planet. My work as a photographer is the culmination of a life-long investment in the power of art and visual culture to shape and influence social change. These compositions challenge the viewer to question the images. It is not reality, and not the future, but one possible future. While the images in the series When the Trees are Gone have an apocalyptic tone, they are inspired also by humor. Ultimately, this work is not pessimistic. I am hopeful that, as many urban planners and landscape architects already are, we can find new approaches to urban design.
Hand Painted Photographs
My grandmother raised me. She was born with a large birthmark in the shape of a fish that covered her chin and neck. She referred to it as her purple stain. When I was young she would often tell me the story of how it happened repeatedly throughout my childhood. She told me her mother cut her finger cleaning fish when she was pregnant with her. Her mother put her finger up to her mouth immediately to stop the bleeding and according to my grandmother, “marked her”. Her mother died as a result of my grandmother’s birth several weeks later. Had she explained it any other way I would be a very different person today. I saw it a beautiful pattern imbued with magic not an imperfection. My grandmother suffered through stares and pointing fingers often as I was holding her hand. These kinds of folk stories and explanations were part of my childhood and nurtured my imagination. They held a transformative power as a kind of magical soul medicine.
I begin by scanning tintypes that I started collecting in the late seventies. The printed photograph then becomes a contemplative ground for painting. They are independent of each other physically, historically and on many other levels. The painted photograph essentially is a duet in which two mediums may contribute towards a whole. The integrity of both exists simultaneously in a shared physicality through and on the photographic print. The composition is essentially a duet where both mediums of equal importance. I’m interested in the translation of these found tintypes by reanimating or resuscitating the portrait. I think of the portraits as time travelers while painting late night seances. With the help of technology, the scanned tintypes often lead to new clues perceptually. It provides a field for painting and mark making. Perhaps they’re tarot cards from outer space. It’s my way of re-touching history.
My Oh My Goddess! series celebrates the women who have influenced me. Most of these women are part of my extended family, and are living full and active lives in southern France, where I am from. A few of these women have now passed, but their memories live on. Among these women are my mother, my grandmother, my mother-in-law and other relatives.
During the recent period of the pandemic and its associated restrictions, the distance between me, my family of origin and friends has never seemed so great. Knowing that I am no longer just a simple airplane flight away from visiting them saddens me.
These playful depictions of these women reflect happy moments spent with them, while I am here and they are far away. During my period of confinement, I revisited my personal collection of photographs and transformed these ordinary women, giving them a breath of new life, and capturing their lively spirits and dynamism. I mean to convey what is most beautiful about them, reinterpreting that beauty, even transforming them into goddesses.
I come from a long line of strong women. During my life, I have continued to surround myself with strong women. They are my role models and the source of my own strength and feminist spirit. Indeed, they are my goddesses.
These images, grouped under the title Visual Pathways, encompass two themes, both motivated by the mechanics of our visual system. The images on our retinas are not like stills of a movie. A spot on the retina shows chemical activation based on all the images it has seen recently, not just the light that it is seeing “right now”; later in the brain these successive smears of chemical activation are refined to the movies that we “see.” Some of the images here tease out that effect by showing the changes in a scene as a few moments pass, letting the parts that remained the same fade into the background. Elsewhere in the brain, the processing of color and tonality are handled by separate pathways; others of these images invite us to imagine what we would see if one of those pathways were handled differently. All the images in the group play on the difference between what we see and how we see it.
The Land bears constant witness and reveals itself as an endless stream of images. But the conscious mind is selective, and memory illusive. My Life Could Be a Dream series works in the realm of perception and illusion and explores our mental processes of combining new and remembered visual inputs while we create our own realities.
These photographic works are assemblages of images that are drawn from my camera. My processes use digital imagery to go beyond the camera and deconstruct images into 0’s and 1’s and mix them into a digital bardo where the present and the past are compressed into the moment. While the means is digital, I see the outcome as physical prints that combine abstract elements of color and form together with literal narrative.
I am drawn to the possibilities of digital imagery as an artistic avenue into questions about the conscious mind and the formation of belief. I search for models and metaphors in ordinary subjects as I explore my own fragile and aging relationship with our uniquely American culture.
Bio/CVopens PDF file
Mark making. Symbols. These are some of the earliest efforts of human beings. This series, Syllabary for a Natural World, reaches back to prehistoric expressions of mark making to explore the innate complexity and language of the natural world, to restart a process of abstraction and understanding. Through photographs of everyday woodlands, by means of digital modification and mark making, I aim to recreate a language that never was, but which ought to be.
It has been said that if we do not have a word for something, it is unacknowledged, hard to bring into consciousness as an actual thing in the world.
I examine the linear forms of tree trunk and branches, of leaf and stem, as they reframe themselves into an infinite set of almost repeating, but ever-changing patterns. The physical recording of years of growth and eons of evolved complexity balanced and whole is visually palpable. And here the language arises.
May we bring the complexity and balance fully to consciousness. May we develop a language as deep as nature itself.
Finding My Way
My family moved around a lot. Rarely was everyone on the same continent, much less in the same country. I was always trying to orient myself to the new environments. My sense of direction remains challenged, but I have found many diverging paths, wonderful places along the way. Infrared photography, a different wavelength of light, shows us more detail and fascinates with false color.
I am honored to be part of the Griffin Museum of Photography group show “Digits: A Parallel Universe”. Much of what I attempt to accomplish as a photographer is consistent with the vision for this exhibition.
The grand landscape has always been my preferred subject. Mountains, sea, plains, and deserts all bring me joy and allows me to express myself through image making. Photographing landscape in low light allows for wonderful visual opportunities.
Creating unique landscape images is a challenge. Digital manipulation and significant post -processing afford me the opportunity to meet that challenge; I’m able inject some of my emotions present at the moment of capture. The result is an altered reality using techniques I like to call “pixel painting”.
The six images I’ve chosen, taken in the Atacama Desert (Chile), White Pocket (Arizona), Provincetown Dunes (Massachusetts), Santa Fe, New Mexico, and the Tibetan and Bolivian Plateaus, are representative of my interpretation of the world’s natural beauty.
Bio/CVopens PDF file