Archives for posts with tag: fine art

BC PEN — open to visitors is a new Sassamatt Images gallery. It features a series of black and white photographs made during the BC Maximum Security Penitentiary openhouse in 1980 just prior to its decommission. The dark, structured confinement is pierced with slants of light that reflect on anything bright, and still the film grain is a collection of marks made by 102 years of anger, despair, and fear.

These images are from an archive of black and white film negatives shelved for forty years, and working on them brought back both questions and memories. I wondered what would draw me to visit a place that contained memories of excruciating suffering, knowing that I do not release the emotional residue of these experiences easily. Revisiting the BC Penitentiary through my photography brought back memories of 1973 Riot followed by  hostage-takings in 1975 and 1976. My mind resurrected countless news stories about deplorable conditions, high staff turnover and the unforgettable friendly fire killing of Mary Steinhauser, a social worker who was outspoken about solitary confinement. Curiously, I was compelled to be among those who visited and witnessed this closing chapter in British Columbia correctional facility history and the end of century of draconian prison conditions.

As I moved through this series of negatives I remembered how I was struck by the artificial presentation of the BC Penitentiary as a museum, explaining intake, routines, education opportunities and the transition to release. The kitchen displayed spotless counters and sparkling aluminum cooking equipment. The infirmary displayed specialized accommodations for inmate medical care. Most of the damage and debris from the final riot had been cleared away, and the cells were spotless. I was much more curious about the remains of the series of holes bored through cell walls, preserved for visitors. In the end, what remained was the architecture of confinement and the slants of light that pierced darkness on so many levels.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

more images

Advertisements
FinnSloughAncientMemories20180110-DSCF1158

Finn Slough: Ancient Memories

Art About Finn Slough Show, sponsored by the Finn Slough Heritage and Wetland Society, includes work by Sassamatt Collective artists Phyllis Schwartz and Edward Peck. This unjuried show features work inspired by late Fall visits to Finn Slough, a small historic fishing village at the junction of Number 4 Road and Dyke Road in Richmond, one of the last tidal communities of the West Coast.

The Lumen Print series by Phyllis Schwartz was made from plant materials gathered at Finn Slough, a tiny fishing community in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada where approximately 30 residents live in wooden houses along a marshy riverbank. The indigenous and cultivated plant materials used to make the photograms reference a community that is inextricably connected to the environment and persistently adaptable to the encroaching built environment that challenges its existence. Of particular interest are the ginkgo leaves and horsetail ferns, both ancient plants that have adapted to environmental transformations or thousands of years.

Tidal Zone is a series by Edward Peck made from persistent observations of Finn Slough as Fall transforms the landscape from colour to the spare elements of winter. His series captures the marsh habitat on the Fraser River that has been lost to human settlement and industrial development. This struggle is reflected by the contrast of a dynamic landscape in full colour and the austerity of black and white structures endure the elements.

AAFSS is held at the Richmond Cultural Centre located at 7700 Minoru Gate, Multipurpose Room. The show is open on Thursday, April 9 from noon to 9:00pm, Friday, April 10th from 9:00am to 9:00pm, with an evening reception and guests speakers, Saturday, April 11th from 10:00am to 5:00pm and its ends on Sunday at 3:00pm.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Finn Slough Landscape

 

Gilbert, Arizona — 06 March – 21 April

LightSensitive 2018, an exhibition of traditional darkroom and alternative process photography, opens at Art Intersection on Saturday, 10 March (5 – 7pm). The selected works, according to juror scott b. davis, “…range from abstract images that defy our expectations of photography to others that affirm our belief in the medium’s inherent specificity.”

Two Lumen Prints from my Finn Slough Series will be on show in an exhibition of handcrafted prints by photographers working in the tradition of light sensitive creative processes. The organic nature of these prints made using materials gathered at Finn Slough reflect the quality of life in a tiny fishing community in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada where 30 residents live in wooden houses along a marshy riverbank. The indigenous and cultivated plant materials used to make the photograms reference a community that is inextricably connected to the environment and persistently adaptable to the encroaching built environment that challenges its existence.

These Lumen Print photograms are made by placing plant materials on black-and-white photo paper, which were exposed to both sunlight and the elements for 48 hours during a December snowstorm and then processed in fixer. The atmospheric conditions affecting these prints were especially unusual, resulting in distress to the light sensitive emulsion, which can be seen in the unique marks on the photosensitive surface.

Light Sensitive will show at Art Intersection, a gallery and workspace in Gilbert, Arizona, that promotes the intersection of photography with related art forms. The exhibition runs from 06 March thru 21 April (207 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert Arizona). Opening reception is Saturday, 10 March, 5 – 7 pm).

 

Two recent Lumen Prints have been selected for exhibition in Light Sensitive 2018, a signature exhibition of photography created using traditional darkroom and alternative photographic processes. Both of these prints were made using materials gathered at Finn Slough, a tiny fishing community in Richmond, British Columbia, Canada where approximately 30 residents live in wooden houses along a marshy riverbank. The indigenous and cultivated plant materials used to make the photograms reference a community that is inextricably connected to the environment and persistently adaptable to the encroaching built environment that challenges its existence.

These Lumen Print photograms are made by placing plant materials on black-and-white photo paper, which were exposed to both sunlight and the elements for 48 hours and then processed in fixer. The plant enzymes and atmospheric conditions interacted with the photo-emulsion to produce unexpected results on the surface of the paper, leaving X-ray like marks on both their shapes and interiors. The atmospheric conditions affecting these prints were especially unusual — work that was set out on a cold December night was visited by a slushy snowstorm that was followed by freezing weather that adhered the prints to the developing table for an additional day of soaking up diffused light. Carefully, these prints were thawed and released; the impact of this distress can be seen in the unique marks on the photosensitive surface.

Light Sensitive, juried by scott b. davis founder of the Medium Festival of Photography, will show at Art Intersection, a gallery and workspace in Gilbert, Arizona, that promotes the intersection of photography with related art forms. The exhibition runs from 06 Marth thru 21 April (207 North Gilbert Road, Gilbert Arizona). Open reception is Saturday, 10 March, 5 – 7 pm).

Contemplating Water is a new gallery added to Sassamatt’s webpage. It features a series of photographs made on Chesterman Beach/Tofino, BC, focussing on water in its dynamic state.

Ever-moving water is ephemeral and transcendental. As it swirls, sputters, rises and falls, it returns to where it began. I look at water the way Alfred Steiglitz looks at clouds, contemplating how “to hold a moment, how to record something so completely, that all who see will relive an equivalent of what has been expressed.”

View Contemplating Water (here). 

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

Another sketchbook is on the way to the Brooklyn Art Libary for the 2017 Sketchbook Project. Three streams of consciousness merge: hybrid monsters (real, imagined and augmented), an assortment of owls (scowl owls, wise owls and stylized) hidden and tucked into unlikely compositional elements and sketches of freeform climbers traversing, ascending and building stamina. Exhibition and touring details will be announced shortly. Nightmares — monsters, owls, and bouldering will soon be on view online; until then, nine digitized sketchbooks can be viewed here.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

 

Artists by nature are not hard-wired to boost, promote, or sell their work. Buyers usually want to know more about the works that attract their attention and perhaps purchase. That more can be the backstory, the technique or inspiration, and it is often said that it is not the work that is sold but the story that is bought. For some artists, that conversation is difficult. In my own artist practice, all of this is the case. If I could bring that story to life in conversation, there would be no need for me to make a drawing, photograph, artist book or ceramic sculpture. I came to value (and now miss dearly) art school critiques because I learned how to speak more confidently about the backstory, techniques and inspiration in my artist practice. Having said that, this blog feels somewhat like shameless self-promotion, but it could also be a year end summary about where my work can be found, where this work can be purchased.

South Main Gallery (279 East 6th Avenue, Vancouver) now represents my work, particularly More Illuminations, featured in Vancouver’s Capture Photography Festival (2016).

Cityscapes Art Rentals (335 Lonsdale Avenue, North Vancouver) holds a small collection of my work for rent, rent-to-own, and purchase. A selection of my work will be in the 2017 Art Rental Show (opening 12 January through 04 February 2017).

The Brooklyn Art Library (28 Frost Street, Brooklyn, NY)/ Sketchbook Project now sells high quality prints of pages from nine of my sketchbooks in their collection. Sketchbook Collection

Gifting is an art form in its own right, and in this season of gift giving, a gift of art is a double gift because it gifts the artist as well. More about my photography continues at http://www.sassamatt.com

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

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…

View original post 136 more words

Telling Stories: a visual art exhibition, a new exhibition presented by the Chinese Cultural Centre of Greater Vancouver in collaboration with the BestB4 Collective, opens at the On-Tak Cheung Gallery at the Chinese Cultural Centre Museum on Saturday, 07 November, 2015 from 2 – 4pm.

This new  BestB4 Collective project is a collaboration with nine visual artists and community members; the gallery is transformed into a meeting place where photography, painting, ceramics, fibre and installations tell and evoke stories. Salton Sea Eco-Disaster — I Cannot Look Away, my Salton Sea photo-graphic story, will be on show in this exhibition.

In the Winter of 2011, I made my second photo-exploration of the Salton Sea in Southern California to continue my study of the environmental impact of the local economy on the region and am now working toward a return to the area for a future photographic project. This eco-disaster is complex: as this salt lake dehydrates, the toxins from the Mexicali-Calexico food industry and computer industry contaminants concentrate, which in turn kills the fish, birds and plant life. As a result, the shore of the Salton Sea is ringed with layers of dead fish and birds; the stench of dead marine life hovers over a series of ghost towns built with the intention of a recreational paradise in the desert.

My work in this area has only begun. It is simultaneously seductively surreal and an outrage. I use the photographic process as an investigative tool. The process of photography reveals detail and texture. I seek universals, digging beneath the surface for invisible truth, open to the optical unconscious revealed by my camera. In my quest for the poetic, my photography addresses the nature of permanence and impermanence by asking, “What remains?”

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

More about the Best B4 Collective 
More community events

Two of my vintage analogue Lumen Prints have been selected for auction at ArtBeat Vancouver. Works by fifty up-coming and established local artists have been curated by Lynn Ruscheinsky and will be auctioned at ArtBeat 2015 this Saturday, 25 July at the Belkin Residence (7349 Blenheim Street), 4 – 10 pm.  Event details and ticket purchase details can be found at ArtBeat/Events.

Both Lumen Prints from the Spanish Banks Series were previously exhibited at the in the Emily Carr Awards Exhibition at the Winsor Gallery. These works are early explorations of the Lumen Print process using materials gathered from the seashore.

ArtBeat 2015 is a fund raising event for the expansion of Esther’s Place, a safe house for women fleeing domestic violence, as well as Little Footprints/Big Steps, a charity founded to aid rescuing children from situations of abuse, slavery, homelessness or severe neglect. More details can be found at ArtBeat/The Cause. 

Spanish Banks Impressions 13 (Lumen Print on fibre, unique photogram)

Spanish Banks Impressions 13 (Lumen Print on fibre, unique photogram)

Fan Coral (Lumen Print on Fibre, unique photogram)

Fan Coral (Lumen Print on Fibre, unique photogram)

%d bloggers like this: