Archives for posts with tag: arts
Frozen

Frozen

I’ve been gifted this review of my current series: Salton Sea Eco-Disaster — I cannot look away.

 

The Salton Sea Eco-Disaster – I cannot look away
One of the most provocative and insightful bodies of artwork in the Telling Stories: a visual art exhibition is a series of photographs by Phyllis Schwartz. Although a great deal of her work is more abstract in nature and rooted in the historical techniques of photographic image making, this series is a departure for her. The images are very monochromatic and stark as well as being rivetingly close to their subject matter.

What has caused this departure, especially when the work has been simmering since the winter of 2011? Having witnessed the ecological destruction on the shores of the Salton Sea, California’s largest body of water, the images were just too graphic and unworldly. How does a visual artist work with a set of images that seem implausible, yet at the same time so captivating? What are the implications of creating a series around these images that wander between a work of art, a statement of witnessing and a political commentary on our economically driven ecological disasters?

Vacant

Vacant

In the end one cannot really look away, as Phyllis Schwartz expresses in her subtitle, without becoming even more complicit than one already is creating these images. To look away is to do what is so often done, to pretend we are not part of the problem. We are collectively the authors of this series; even in Vancouver, the food grown in this area that flows 15,000 tons of phosphorus and nitrogen into this landlocked sea is the food we shop for on our grocery shelves. The cars we drive that are made in Mexico in the maquiladoras just across the border, emit a toxic stew mixed with sewage, and this flows down hill across the border into the Salton Sea. This artificial river is now the most toxic waterway in North America, we should not be looking away.

Schwartz’s images are simple yet draw in the viewer; they are micro-compositions of areas no larger than a dessert plate. Abstract in presentation and mostly black and white with hints of colour, one can not help but think of Edward Weston’s work and the intimacy he expressed with the objects he photographed. Yet the images are not as subtitle, and unlike Weston, the images are much less rooted in the post modern culture that favours irony while making allusions to knowledge. It also seems to lash out at the pseudo-modern world of around us where iPhones and social media often gives the impression that one is immersed when often one is overtaken or swallowed up.

Desiccated

Desiccated

As the viewer moves from one image to another, one begins to feel that something is amiss. What is the magnitude of the dead barnacles beach? Why are the fish mostly unconsumed by the other wild life in the area? Why have they not been cleaned up by local inhabitants? Having chosen to work at such an intimate range, the work hints at the extent of the problem without graphically showing the masses of dead fish that actually litter the shoreline. The artist here is reflecting our tendency to minimize and reduce things down so we do not see the scale of the problem. One cannot look away, but one does not want to see the scale, a scale might prove too challenging. The softness and almost abstract forms allow one to at momentarily escape before the mind lurches back to what is being presented. It moves the viewer to search out the subtext and the footnotes of this ecological metaphor of our current age.

Edward Peck (15 November 2015)

Edward Peck

On the Wall Series, photographed in Germany in 2015, will be part of the Telling Stories:a visual art exhibition opening on the 7th of November 2015. The exhibition will include photography, painting, sculpture, fibre art and other installations. It will feature the following nine artists: Alison Keenan, Phyllis Schwartz, Jim Friesen, Daphne Harwood, Sophi Liang, Colette Lisoway, Edward Peck, Debra Sloan and June Yun.

This is the BestB4 Collective’s latest exhibition, and it is graciously hosted by the Chinese Cultural Centre in their On-Tak Cheung Exhibition Gallery.

Opening: Saturday, November 7, 2015

Location: 555 Columbia Street

Regular Hours: 11:am – 5pm (Tue-Sat), Nov 7th – Dec 19

For Special Hours and Events see BestB4Collective’s Blog

For more information please go to the BestB4 Collective’s events page:
http://bestb4collective.blogspot.ca/p/events.html )

A Brief Word About the Series

My artist practice has always been about teaching myself to see. While walking around Berlin and Hamburg, I noticed that…

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Check out my new work at two openings on Friday, 25 January. One of my New York street shots is in Bikes Inside, a group exhibition at Hot Art Wet City. Five of my abstracts are showing in Abstract Expressionism, a group exhibition at Photohaus Gallery.

Ninth Avenue Cyclist II is part of a series inspired by Diane Evans and Kristina Kreber; it is a photograph created across the street from B and H Photos in New York (Ninth Avenue and 34th Street). Current work showing in Abstract Expressionism is from a new series of work that continues my lumen printing experimentation; these hybrid prints made from handmade negatives on 4 x 5 sheet film that are digitized.

More exhibition and opening night details below.

Abstract Expressionism
Photohaus Gallery, 14 West 7th Avenue, Vancouver
January 25 – 14 February
Opening: 25 January, 7 – 10 pm
Gallery catalogue available
http://photohausgallery.com
Bikes Inside
Hot Art Wet City Pop Up Gallery, 752 East Broadway, Vancouver
25 January – 13 February
Opening: 25 January, 7 – 11 pm
http://hotartwetcity.com/bikes-inside/

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Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/queenofmidnight  

Like Sassamatt Images on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SassamattImages

Learn more about Sassamatt Images http://about.me/phyllisSchwartz

And, if you are at the  Queen Elizabeth Theatre before 18 February 2013, check out In Camera: the working dancer, an exhibition of my photographs and Alison Keenan’s paintings, a body of work made in cooperation with Ballet BC. It is showing in the Mezzanine Gallery and my ceramic sculptures on the top floor. Let me know what you think.

Winter: a season to dream about what will take flight this spring. Keep warm.

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Follow me on Twitter https://twitter.com/queenofmidnight  

Like Sassamatt Images on Facebook https://www.facebook.com/SassamattImages

Learn more about Sassamatt Images http://about.me/phyllisSchwartz

And, if you are at the  Queen Elizabeth Theatre before 18 February 2013, check out my photographs showing in the Mezzanine Gallery and my sculptures on the top floor. Let me know what you think.

 

Desert Salt (2010, Lumen Print on Fibre from Silver Gelatine. Limited Edition 1/1)

 

The Collective — a Curated Marketplace for Contemporary Photography.

Join the artists in attendance on Wednesday, 24 October (7 – 9 pm) for the launch of an exciting collection of contemporary photography. Meet the artists and view the inaugural collection of stunning photography. One of my lumen prints made in the desert near Death Valley is in the collection. Check out the website and join us at the opening. Truth and Beauty Gallery (698 West 16th Avenue). The Collective at Truth and Beauty Gallery

Poetic Abstractions: Seven Visions, gently curated by Phyllis Schwartz and Edward Peck, is an exhibition presenting seven approaches to abstraction with the intent of provoking questions and sparking dialogue. This exibition is a dialogue between seven visual artists who use experimental digital photographic processes to create poetic images. My work in this exhibition shows new work — images from handmade negatives made during my winter residency at Chesterman Beach.  A gallery catalogue produced for this exhibition contains an introduction followed by images from each participating artist.

Opening Reception and Artist Talk: Thursday, 06 September 2012 (7 – 9 pm); Atrium Gallery, Place des Arts, Port Coquitlam

Artist Workshop: Sunday, 30 September 2012 (1:30 – 3:30 pm), Place des Arts, Port Coquitlam

http://www.placedesarts.ca/gallery/current-exhibitions.aspx

Hard Cover     http://www.blurb.com/bookstore/detail/3454436

eBook             http://store.blurb.com/ebooks/303079-poetic-abstractions

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