Kathryn Mayo and Doug Winter, a husband and wife photography team based in Sacramento, collaborate with their models to create vintage portraits, seemingly of the past, using the traditional wet plate collodion process. This type of photography was born in the 1850s, but soon faded from the foreground, due to the proliferation of more practical, less time consuming processes involving dry gelatin emulsion.
However, in today’s fast-paced iPhone app culture, where formatting is clean, easy, and instantaneous, ironically, the slow painstaking process is exactly what this artistic pair prefer about collodion. Mayo elaborates, “Each image takes about 15-20 minutes to complete from focusing the camera, coating and sensitizing the plate, exposing, and processing. So, models need to have patience as not each image comes out perfect, and it takes a few to get one we like–sometimes, there are times when the chemistry isn’t working up to par and we don’t get anything at all.” Regardless of outcome, their passion is not just about product, but discovery and investigation. Mayo continues, “I love the idea of using a process steeped in history and with the ghosts of photographers who have come before me. It is a process that is wholly addicting.”
Young Hungarian photographer Noell Oszvald creates elegantly surreal images. Her black and white photographs resemble mid-century fashion photography as much as it does the work of her surrealist influences. Severe contrasts between light and dark create graceful lines and a definite composition for each piece. In this way each image is intriguing, not only for its dreamy content but also because they are simply pleasing to look at. Perhaps what is most surprising, though, is the fact Oszvald’s relationship with the camera is relatively new. Only twenty-two years old Oszvald has only been using the medium for a little over a year. [via]
Polish artist Lukasz Patelczyk paints censored landscapes. The series, actually titled Censored Landscape, depicts natural scenes in severe blacks and whites. Portions of each landscape is hidden behind a white block. Some of the paintings titled variations of Avalanche and Tornado censor the effects of such natural disasters. The censorship leaves a monument like shape in the foreground of indifferent, even harsh landscapes.
The work of artist Vanessa Marsh is perhaps most accurately described as photography. Marsh creates her richly layered compositions one layer at a time. Using drawings on clear acetate sheets and small- scale models she creates a narrative unfolding on a landscape. After producing several such landscapes Marsh photographs the combined layers. The resulting photographs are pictured here. The numerous planes in each piece are similar to past and present time and the memories that accompany it. In fact, of her work, Marsh says:
“Within the series I am exploring not only the working of memory and imagination but also our contemporary relationship to the landscape, where we might find ourselves in the future and how our feelings towards the landscape often center around ideas of dislocation, need and yearning.”
So you’ve endured months of deconstructing every sentence of each presidential candidate’s rhetoric. It’s only fitting that on the eve of Election Day we also visually deconstruct the president, both past and present. French artist Olivier Ratsi produced these presidential digital collages – glitch-like reconstructions of the presidential portrait. Each piece of the series Once Upon a Time the Presidents is made up of various facial features of past American presidents. For example while a portrait’s eyes may have been snatched from Harry Truman, his mouth may be Barack Obama’s and his hair Teddy Roosevelt’s (or is that that John F. Kennedy’s?) The clean shaven cheek, toothy smile, and neatly combed hair appear repeatedly and feel eerily ubiquitous. Ratsi forgoes overt political references in favor of a subtler idea. Each portrait doesn’t so much portray past presidents as it does the idea of the presidential image.
Nice outdoor work from mysterious artist 2501. Applying undulating zebra marks all over the place, his style flows nicely from piece to piece, whether he’s doing a huge scene involving horse-riding bandits or understated characters intriguingly placed within the landscape. It seems he’s moving more and more toward a black and white direction this year, and the resulting high levels of contrast produce a nice dynamic between the walls and their surrounding environments. Click past the jump to see more street work and head over to the artist’s site for works on canvas as well.
Lucy McLauchlan of Birmingham, UK has been painting on every imaginable surface for over ten years. She has created everything from large murals to graphics for baby clothes. She usually works in flat black and white, depicting birds, trees, and whatever strikes her fancy. Most recently, she’s put up a lot of public work in East London, celebrating the Olympic Games. McLauchlan’s subdued compositions don’t scream “look at me!” (a message proliferated by many “street” artists), but -instead- “look at this!”. Honest, pure beautification of our public urban space without any ego.
CCA grad Kara Joslyn is based in Oakland. Joslyn works mostly in black and white and mixed media to create stark, quietly emotional paintings. There’s a lot of hardened dignity in the artist’s work. The black and white depictions here of crumbling stone, ancient pottery, and dried parcels of wood can’t help but lend a resolute seriousness to each painting. This (and their stunning visual qualities) allows them to be taken in with purpose, as though something very special is captured and any time spent with the work is not wasted. By rendering material which was once strong and hard in a state of brokenness and neglect, Joslyn brings us to considerations of the inevitable effects of neglect and time, and the realization that hardly anything remains prominent forever.