Today’s offering is the last in our series on the creative works of our Griffin 10th Annual Photobook Exhibition. Three artists from across the country telling stories crafted or envisioned. To see the full list of works, or ti purchase any of the books you may have seen in these posts, contact Karen Davis of Davis Orton Gallery.
This is a great time to support artists and the arts community. We are believers that everyone should have access to art and creativity. Start a book collection, hold these objects in your hands. It is in the quiet moments where we can participate in someones creativity, especially through books that we engage our own.
Thomas Whitworth – Constructed Scenarios
The idea for my book came from several years ago when I was pondering ways to visualize questions about the believability of photographs and their presentation of the “truth”. It occurred to me to create my own sets with tiny actors and light them and photograph them depicting scenes that might have happened or could happen and that were narratively suggestive, but not singular stories- the scenes could be interpreted in multiple ways, though they almost always suggested that something “bad” had happened or was going to happen. I additionally shot my own large background photographs from real world views and blended my fake world and real world parts together visually through lighting. So, the work presents real still life objects in a false scenario against reproduced backgrounds of actual landscapes, lit in a studio, digitally recorded and presented as archivally printed transparencies in led backlit frames- multilayers of real and unreal, or true and false. When I created enough of the pieces for a series, I of course, thought of presenting them together as a book- the book form of course, makes it easier to show the work rather than hauling around light boxes, but there is something certainly missing when looking at the images on a page versus lit up on a wall. So, I included a view of several pieces lit up and installed on a wall as the first image in the book.
What would you like us as viewers to take away from your images and text?
To answer the question about what I would want viewers to think about, I will take a few bits from my book’s introduction– The Constructed Scenarios series was created to involve viewers in the act of photographic analysis. The work walks a path between staged setup and photographically real representation. They are intentionally created to engage viewers into their invented narratives- the tableaus are specific enough to be familiar, but not so realistic as to be convincing illusions. These images are both story and still life, photographic reality and theatrical performance, small scale illusion and real world mimic. They present semi-factual information requiring analysis of their elements and an engaged interpretive skill- abilities that are sincerely needed to consider the truth in our vast image and information environments.
And, I will have to add that, given our current world situation, questioning what we are told before accepting it is an even more vital skill.
Whats your next project?
I am currently working on more of the Constructed Scenarios images and I intend to make a second book when I get enough of them done.
The Constructed Scenarios series is created to involve viewers in the act of photographic analysis. These still lifes are built using HO scale model train figures, vehicles, structures, and lights. The backgrounds are 20″x 30″ prints of actual skies and landscapes. The objects and backgrounds are positioned and lighted to blend the 3D and 2D together. Like cinema, this work utilizes built sets, actors, props, lighting, and backdrops to form a narrative. The tableaus are specific enough to be familiar, but not so realistic as to be convincing illusions. These images are both story and still life, photographic reality and theatrical performance, small scale illusion and real world mimic. They require analysis of their elements and an engaged interpretive skill– abilities that are surely needed to question the truth of photographs in our current image and information environments.
About Thomas Whitworth
MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago, MA from California State University, Fullerton, CA, BFA from Florida State University, Tallahassee, FL. Professor of Fine Arts- University of New Orleans, Assistant Professor- Herron School of Art, Indianapolis, IN, Visiting Artist- University of South Florida, Tampa, FL.
One person and group exhibitions, local, state, regional, national, and international over 40 years.
In the collections of the State of Louisiana, Bank of America, Chicago, IL, New Orleans Museum of Art, Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL, Sackner Archive of Concrete and Visual Poetry, Miami Beach, FL.
Louisiana Division of the Arts Individual Artist Fellowship 2005 and 1993, Director’s Choice Award- Best Series, Praxis Photographic Arts Center, Minneapolis, MN, Best of Show- Photocentric 2017 Garrison Art Center, Garrison, NY, First Place Juror’s Award- Tampa Biennale, Artists Alliance Gallery, Tampa, FL. Now lives and works in central Florida.
11 x 14”
32 pages 26 photographs
Judy Robinson-Cox – Finding Lilliput
Artist Statement: For the young at heart, Finding Lilliput, is about a tiny pig named Percy, who is no bigger than a fly. He longs for tiny friends just like him. When he learns about the land of Lilliput, he sets out in a tiny boat to find it. The book, written for children and adults, follows Percy’s adventures in his discovery of Lilliput.
The book grew from a series of photographs that I have been taking for the past 15 years called Lilliputian Landscapes … fantasy landscapes that I create with food, found objects and tiny plastic figures, then photograph with a macro lens. The miniature people transform the scene into a world with a life of its own. Cauliflower becomes a snow-covered hill, and a butternut squash turns into a construction site. I create each scene entirely in front of the camera and do not use Photoshop or any other computer tool to construct the picture.
The photographs have evolved over the years with a new theme or subject each year. They began with a tiny pig and evolved into landscapes made entirely of fruit, vegetables and 3/4” high figures. Then came sushi, Fiestaware, flowers, technology, money, games, artists, bubbles, ice, vintage objects and so on. Finding Lilliput incorporates some of my early work.
Bio: Gloucester, MA based photographer, Judy Robinson-Cox, has been creating miniature photographic tableaux for the past several years. Originally a mixed-media abstract artist and macro photographer, she creates and photographs tiny imaginary worlds to escape from the prejudices, hatred and politics that permeate our culture.
She is represented by the Square Circle Gallery in Rockport, MA; Gallery 53 on Rocky Neck in Gloucester, MA; and is in the permanent collection of the Culinary Arts Museum at Johnson & Wales University.
5.5 x 8.5”
48 pages 27 photographs
Steve Anderson – Faces. Surrealism. book 3
Artist Statement: The photographs in this ongoing series, Surruralism explore birth, life, death, … dreamscapes, … family, … animals, … other worlds, in a rural setting. …influenced by painters/ paintings. …various art movements. ( Surrealism. …Pittura Metafisica. ..Symbolism. )
The images have not been manipulated. Everything is as seen through the viewfinder.
Bio: B. 1949. …raised on a small farm, in N. Illinois.
…have lived in Oregon for many years. …photos, in private collections. …exhibitions, in the US, ..Ireland,..& the Netherlands.
Faces, Surruralism: Book 3
Design: Picturia Press
8 x 10”
88 pages 175 photographs