Thursday, March 13, 2008

Brave New Landscape

Photos by Leah Oates

ARTmostfierce enjoys always looking for new emerging artists. Well folks here is a few  for those who like me are looking for the next big thing. My personal favorite here is Leah Oates who I had the pleasure of finding at the Pool Fair during Miami ART Basel. Her use of the light box as a medium to express her photography is quite stunning. If you happen to be near Pittsfield, Ma., I suggest you check it out. If not check out their websites listed below and for Leah can also contact me.

Oh by the way you can also see Leah's photos at the new NBC series Lipstick Jungle..Go Leah!

Brave New Landscape
Leah Oates, Julie W. McCarthy, Lisa Vollmer, Eric Korenman and Jason Houston.
March 8-April 5.
Hours: Saturday & Sunday, 12-5pm, or by appointment.
Storefront Artist Project, 124 Fenn Street, Pittsfield, MA. (413) 442-7301

Panel Discussion: Sunday, March 30, 2pm.*

‘Brave New Landscape’ showcases the work of five distinct photographers: Leah Oates, Julie W. McCarthy, Lisa Vollmer, Eric Korenman and Jason Houston.
Although none would consider themselves landscape photographers per se, landscape coyly figures in their disparate work simultaneously as foreground and background. This exhibition is in part about the way landscape plays a role in each artist’s work and in turn how it influences the reading of the images. Often used as a backdrop to the primary subject mater, the landscape revealed in these photographs comes across as being in flux, unstable and absurd. Together as a group the images in this exhibition render the landscape as a state of mind rather than a representation of a place and time.
A sense of the unreal looms about, even in the work of the most straightforward photographers here. Yet there is also an uncanny discernment of something familiar in the air. The visual elements, sometimes including the human figure, viscerally reference the real world. In effect the images become dreamscapes imbued with waking moments.

Leah Oates
Out of the five photographers Leah Oates’ work explores landscape the most. Hers is a search for space that resonates with a questionable past and exists in spite of what has been imposed upon it. To a certain degree her work tells of an acceptance of circumstances that continue to shift and change. Often by double exposing negatives Leah fuses natural and man made landscape into a mutant form. The layered and fragmented landscape in Leah’s photographs brings an element of chance and with it a disquieting transientness. Inherently, Leah’s work contains a subtle commentary on the effects that human consumption has on nature while at the same time postulating a subversive kind of beauty.

Julie W. McCarthy
Julie captures visual sceneries where nothing seems as is. She molds the aperture’s optic field into a dreamy yet eerie space by photographing with a specialized, selective focusing lens. As a consequence her images appear as either moving towards the viewer or away in space. This trajectory is further enhanced by the black and white mostly monochromatic printing which gives the work an ephemeral quality. The skewed perspective and proportions give Julie’s landscape a gravitational pull. Looking at her photographs one cannot resist being swayed into their intimate if not nebulous space.

Lisa Vollmer
Landscape need not be natural as evident in one of Lisa Vollmer’s photographs, “LDS Mormon Visitor’s Center”. This image is a representation of a representation of a very specific landscape, one that conveys a world in itself for Mormon adherents. In her work Lisa conceptualizes the notions of contemporary documentary photography by carefully planning where and how the photo sessions take place. Often this gives her images the appearance of being staged and the resulting theatricality lends the landscape a grandiose prominence. The landscape in Lisa’s work along with the subject matter she places in it uncovers a macrocosm where faith is the final frontier.

Eric Korenman
Eric Korenman’s images hint at hidden aspects of nature both environmentally and of the human psyche. The views photographed by him refuse to be captured ordefined. Eric’s landscapes depart from his typical work of evocative, beautifully detailed portraiture and interior architecture photographs. Turning his lens to the outside surroundings he invites the natural world to enter the image on its own terms. Frequently leaving the camera’s aperture open for long exposures he lets the passage of time truly become an essential element of the composition affecting the photograph’s very mood. As a result Eric’s photographs manifest a mysterious landscape in a constant state of morphing.

Jason Houston
Jason Houston’s photographs from the documentary series ‘Farmer’ draw the eye to the to the substance of farming – the land itself. Removed from a documentary context the images here foster a surreal texture brought on by certain compositional elements. Jason’s work eloquently expresses the human desire to care and cultivate earth. Intriguingly one of his photographs appears to be especially ‘un-landscape-like’. Taken from the inside of a pick-up truck and obscured by a dirty windshield which frames a view of a field with trees in the distance the landscape here appears melancholy and strangely out of reach.

Brave New Landscape has been organized by Monika Sosnowski, a photographer and an independent curator.

*In conjunction with the Brave New Landscape exhibition Julie McCarthy’s photographic series Saints and Sinners will be spotlighted in the back/office space of the Storefront Artist Project. Also on view throughout the exhibition will be Leah Oates’ artist books and Eric Korenman’s additional “Deep Pond” studies.
A panel discussion with the artists is scheduled for Sunday, March 30th at 2pm. The artists will discuss their work and the state of contemporary photography.

Artists websites:

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