Archives for posts with tag: visual art

From time to time, I incline my mind toward straight photography and assemble a  vaguely affiliated series of images. The Curated Fridge is calling for photographs that speak to their summer theme: I Wonder.

When I look through my viewfinder, I wonder about many things: will my photograph be the equivalent of what I sense (thinking about Alfred Steiglitz)? will my photograph endure my rigourous editing process? will I feel the same about this image tomorrow as I did when I released the shutter (Wordsworth’s emotion recollected in tranquility)?

Sometimes I ponder, speculate, or meditate with my camera, but best of all I like spontaneous moments that later reveal what the inner eye sees in a decisive moment. So, here I offer up a collection of photographic moments that I wonder about.

I leave these thoughts hanging on a prepositional precipice wondering about your thoughts and perceptions as you scroll through my photographic moments?

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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). 

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Announcing the opening of Clouds — a group exhibition

Opening Night Reception,  Thursday,  23 March (7 – 9 pm) at Cityscape Art Space in North Vancouver (235 Lonsdale) — featuring fifty-one artists interpreting clouds in a variety of media that range from beadwork to photography.

Among the many cloud musings is my spontaneous iPhone capture of sunburst lighting up clouds on Chesterman Beach/Tofino, one of those rare moments when the drama of light obscured colour to show the contrast between rain and surf.

Clouds will be on show  at Cityscapes Community Art Space through 22 April.

Chesterman Beach (iPhone image)

 

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

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IntervalsWeb-1024x622Presented by South Main Gallery and Capture Photography Festival
Curated by Edward Peck and Phyllis Schwartz (Sassamatt Collective)
We are pleased to present exciting new and recent work by 7 international photographic artists, including 3 world premieres at South Main Gallery. The exhibition features Goga Bayat, David Ellingsen, Jim Friesen, Diana Nicholette Jeon, Edward Peck, Phyllis Schwartz and Andrew Ward.

March 31st to April 9th
Opening Reception: Thursday, March 31st /7 – 9 pm
Artist Talk: Saturday, April 2nd / 2 – 4 pm

Don’t miss a chance to talk to the artists about their work on Thursday at the Opening Reception or Saturday at the Artist Talk featuring Diana Nicolette Jeon and Andrew Ward.

Seven global photographers converge in an exhibition about the rhythms and tensions in the contemporary geographical, social and psychological landscapes.

Intervals: Photography in Flux is a collection of unique and unusual digital and photographic processes that are rarely seen in one setting. The methods and techniques range from those used long before the invention of the camera to the advanced technology available to artists today. The works are presented through diverse photographic methods using encaustic, cameraless exposures, and iPhonography. Their themes thread around the deconstruction of identity, environmental issues, disposable society, speaking under oppression and the mysteries in the mundane.

An Exhibition Catalogue will be available in the gallery and from Blurb

South Main Gallery
279 East 6th Avenue
Vancouver, BC V5T 1J7
The exhibition continues through Saturday, 09 April. South Main Gallery is open Tuesday – Thursday (10AM – 5:30 PM), Friday-Saturday (11AM-5:30PM) and Sunday by appointment; private viewing available (604.565.5622). An Artist Talk will be held on Saturday, 08 April (2-4 pm).

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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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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?”

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More about the Best B4 Collective 
More community events

Papergirl Vancouver
One of my favourite events. It’s about sharing. It’s about gifting. It’s like sending out a message in a bottle. This year my work is being distributed Mexico, Bristol, Hannover and Vancouver.

All of the artwork submitted to Papergirl Vancouver will be lovingly placed on display at the Roundhouse Community Centre for a week before riders head out on their bikes to spread art throughout the city.

Join the celebration of another year of art and altruism on Monday, August 24th at 6pm at the Roundhouse Community Centre!

Papergirl Vancouver 2015 Offerings

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)

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Three of my sketchbooks are on the Sketchbook Project Summer Tour. This year’s tour kicks off at the Brooklyn Art Library on Friday, 05 May and then travels to nine tour stops in North America.  Sketchbook Project tours are fun: in addition to checking out and reading artist made books, there are also drawing and postcard writing activities.

On board this year are two new sketchbooks and one classic. Find your closest city, check out some sketchbooks and let me know what you think. Summer Tour Schedule

Big Wheels is a girl’s look at big wheels on roads, streets and sidewalks. It amazes me to think about how the wheel is one of six simple machines and how much complex technology is dependent on basic elements like a wheel. This book has been to Chicago, NYC, Bloomington, Ocean Shores, Iceland, Denmark and Germany. It traveled many miles to get to you.

Songs for the Accordion was inspired by the accordion book form and wanting to make a unique book that could visualize song and dance. Music threads through a landscape of colour and leaves notes to play and replay. Marks on paper were made using Procion dye, acrylic ink, charcoal, thread, acrylic medium and white glue. Of all the books made for the Sketchbook Project, this was the most difficult to send away.

My Brooklyn Childhood — a memoir has been on many Sketchbook Project Tours, including Art Basel. It is a compilation of my father’s memoirs and memory drawings. It brings together work that my father talked about but never achieved: illustrating the many stories he told. His memory drawings open a new understanding of his Brooklyn boyhood, and the Brooklyn Art Library is a fitting location for this first edition. This book is also available from Blurb

View these and my other Brooklyn Art Library Sketchbooks on line.

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