Sunday, June 26, 2016

Indiana: The Lenscratch Addendum

Guest editing the Lenscratch States Project for Indiana was a difficult task as I wanted to include many more artists than were possible and some that did not fit the specifications. Instead, they will reside here as an addendum to what was not posted last week.

Rochelle Martin, A New Dress, 2016

Rochelle Martin, The Dresses My Grandmother Made, 2014

In her series, Doubts, rituals of the artist's past (revolving around religion) and the present (the photographic process and its deconstruction) are the main focus. The dress represents Rochelle's childhood, yet its constant reappearance shows the impossibility of shedding that history. Carefully taking things apart whether it is a camera, text, or reinterpreting an outline of a dress with rocks in the snow, creates a broader understanding of distant experiences that are constantly informing who she is today. More than anything, this series is a coming of age, an introspective examination of a faith no longer desired and the quest for art as its replacement.

I kept wishing I knew a photographer from Northern Indiana to add to the group and suddenly, one contacted me. The above two images are from Rita Koehler's series Rite of Ordinary: Interior Indiana. She states on her website that it is "a conceptual, photographic documentary that examines the domestic lives of same-gendered couples living in Northern Indiana.... The portraits of these couples reveal more than mere facial expressions. They reveal bodies, furniture, wall decorations, and all the details and appurtenances of one’s identity. Through the assemblage of things that constitute a home, the images lead viewers to work, to speculate, and to challenge the current paradigm of “normal” regarding gender, sexuality, love, home, family, and relationships."

Another avenue that I could have pursued that did not fit the Lenscratch specifications are artists who once called Indiana home but have since moved away and are doing well elsewhere. Nate Larson's Home State, Christine Shank's Our First Year Together and Camilla Oldenkamp's To Photograph were the three artists and their projects that immediately came to mind.

Nate Larson, Beautiful Loser, Montmorenci Cemetery, Tippecanoe County, Indiana, 2014

Nate Larson, Photo Opportunity at a Corn Maze, Lafayette, Indiana, 2015 

Christine Shank's "ongoing project, our first year together, consists of images that seem unrelated in content, location, and subject matter, but are bound together by their treatment and tone. There are images that hint at and reference one another while intentionally remaining enigmatic...."

"...These images construct the moments in between points of significance, the way much of life is experienced, in the middle of contemplation, conflict, and wonderment."

In To Photograph, Camilla Oldenkamp writes, "In much of the work I alter the traditional staging of photographs by destroying, preserving or altering their form. These modifications comment on the images' place and purpose in the past, present and future; the changes to the found imagery occasionally come full circle when the final output is a photograph itself. Encouraging a fluctuation between past and present, the work as a whole creates a new purpose for these found images once their original objective has expired."

Finally, here is an artist for whom I have greatest hope as she heads west for Nevada to start graduate school next month... Holly Lay from the series Through the Viewfinder.

Saturday, June 18, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Stefan Petranek

Today marks the last day of being the guest editor for Lenscratch's The States Project. See Stefan's artwork here.

Stefan Petranek meticulously arranges text derived from DNA coding onto found elements (fruit, leaves, dilapidated wood), the landscape (beaches and lawns) and in structured piles. He uses alternative processes, digital manipulation, and a variety of materials to represent type: syrup, detritus from trees, the shearing of grass, or stencils and paint. At times, the importance of the process rivals the end product as he leaves tweezers in the scene or printouts of text that may offer clues to the origin of the system. Eventually, the DNA takes on the role of poetry, design, or even the monotony of writing sentences as punishment over and over to fill a space. All of it will disappear as the grass grows back, the tide rolls in, the paint fades, and the fruit browns. We define our lives by these scientific structures yet Stefan personalizes them to show individual identity in our everyday surroundings.

Friday, June 17, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Shelley Given

To Wait Without Waiting depicts this action as an experience witnessed in solitude. Shelley Given’s photographs are quiet and contemplative in nature. Of all the artists representing Indiana this week, her images typify this Midwestern terrain the most. Indiana is the Crossroads of America and Given’s shows a sense of transience (driving through at dusk) and also lingering (the organization of possessions showing decades of accumulation). Seasons change from brutally cold winters to muggy summer nights. People convene in small town motels and aging relative’s houses. The nostalgia emanating from Given’s artwork is reminiscent of road trips to family reunions where this Midwestern state is the destination not a transitory movement through the landscape.

Check out more images here

Thursday, June 16, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Mia Beach

Mia Beach creates atypical portraits as complex as the emotions she represents. She returned to document her subjects (her partners’ past lovers) over multiple visits, incorporating fragmented body parts interacting with the printed image. Stark black-and-white photographs often occupy domestic spaces bathed in natural light. Her series Metamours is built upon layers of trust between current loves and those long past. She approaches the subject with sensitivity and curiosity not the jealousy, unease or insecurity that may arise.

See more of Mia's work here.

Wednesday, June 15, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Amelia Morris

Amelia Morris: Indianapolis born and bred. Canning specialties: pear ginger jam and chutney. Librarian assistant. Photographic Muse. Former owner of a Honda Civic Wagon named Henry. Life drawing model. Product photographer. Jointly responsible for two felines: Carlos and Marco. Chocolate Maker. Tattoos: zero. Sewing machine brand: Singer. Doughnut lover. Sufferer of the “post-recession blues.” Practices perfect penmanship. Once stood beside Christian Marclay during a screening of The Clock. Preferred light source: natural. Hidden talent: Photoshopping human and animal heads on found photographs from the 1980s. Grows hair long for art. Mail Artist whose last postcard featured her partner Drew’s financial calculations of their future. Avid reader. Introspective genius.

Read the rest here.

Tuesday, June 14, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: Mark Sawrie

Mark Sawrie was the first photographer I met in Indiana. We bonded immediately when he opened a small drawer in a display case featuring a taxidermy animal to show me his fingernail collection of two decades and counting. His vastly different experiences are evident in his artwork as he oscillates between a controlled studio setting and astute everyday observations. His latest series, Sublime/Banal, explores a quieter side – uneven coats of paint in a nondescript bedroom, wrinkled dress shirts on a less crinkled sheet, and the repetitive, yet oddly calming, presentation of State Fair beauty queens. Mark reveals subject matter that is easily overlooked and then throws us for a loop with his sardonic titles.

Read the rest of the post here.

Monday, June 13, 2016

Lenscratch Indiana: The States Project

A year ago, Aline Smithson asked me to be the editor for Indiana in Lenscratch's States Project. This week, the work of five photographers living in the Crossroads state will be featured along with today's post on the Art Department series. [I was brave and introduced new images that are not currently published on the website.]

Check out Aline's interview and introduction here. Thank you again for the opportunity, Lenscratch!