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Friday, May 9, 2008

More Diana Scherer

Here are some of my favorite images by the talented Diana Scherer:

"Kudde" ©Diana Scherer

Works from the series "Still-Life"' ©Diana Scherer

Diana was kind enough to let me use these images on my blog and she also directly expressed that it is important to know that no animals were purposefully killed for her work. She also mentioned that viewers have very strong reactions to her work.
This made me think about what exactly it is that touches a nerve with people when they view her work. As I mentioned previously I liked the work, was affected by it and because of my own personal ethics in regard to animal welfare I was concerned with the provenance of the animal bodies.
However I suspect that her frank examination of life and death is what generates such a strong reaction in most people. Diana said while she deals with tragedy & death, her work is really about life. I very much agree. In western society death is the topic hardest to discuss, even though death obviously is a part of life.
Another body of work that came to mind was Amy Stein's celebrated "Domesticated" series. My understanding is that Ms.Stein used taxidermied animals for her imagery, but her use of dead animals caused no negative reactions.
Diana's work is beautiful and direct - there is no room for misunderstanding of what she is depicting - and I think this can be difficult for some.
Most people buy their meats in supermarkets and never think of where it came from. When death is shown in movies or on TV it is 'sanitized' and even the news shield the viewers. In the US news for example it is rare to see footage of dead or injured whether they are US citizens or other nationals. While I agree that portrayal of violence should be curbed, I do not think there is enough intelligent discourse regarding death.

Ingwa Melero Sample Sale

Friday May 9th 11AM - 7:30PM
Saturday May 10th 11AM-6PM

@ Ingwa;Melero Inc
325 West 38th Street, #1504
(between 8th and 9th Ave)
New York, NY 10018

Wednesday, May 7, 2008

Greener Sunblock

I haven't tried it, but this sounds good: www.caribbean-sol.com
Sunscreen that is kinder to the environment by using biodegradable ingredients thus protecting the sea and things in it like coral reefs.

Tuesday, May 6, 2008

Maria Passarotti: Regarding Arcadia

Concealed Vista © Maria Passarotti

This Thursday night Susan Eley will host the opening reception for "Regarding Arcadia: Rural Viewpoints" , which features the work of my dear friend Maria Passarotti.

Opening Reception
Thursday May 8, 2008
6-8 PM
Susan Eley Fine Art
46 West 90th Street
2 nd FloorNew York, NY

Herd © Maria Passarotti

Monday, May 5, 2008

Walton Ford @ Paul Kasmin

Opening this Thursday:

Walton Ford
Paul Kasmin Gallery
May 8 - July 3, 2008
293 Tenth Avenue
New York, NY

Orphan Works 2008

Get informed: www.stockartistsalliance.org/orphan-works

Pixel Perfect

This week's New Yorker has a piece titled "Pixel Perfect: Pascal Dangin's virtual reality" written by Lauren Collins. If you know anything about the contemporary process of photography the article will not illuminate you; except towards the end of the article Pascal Dangin shares the theory that the hunger for Paparazzi imagery in part is a response to what he does.
Mr. Dangin retouches and creates beings that really do not resemble any of us and he thinks that perhaps the public thus craves the other extreme: candid shots that make celebrities probably look worse than they do in actual life.
I have been thinking a lot about how I am more and more tired of only seeing super polished images commercially. I still love the work of Mert & Marcus, however now most commercial work tries to emulate them and it is becoming boring.

Follow Up: Diana Scherer

Things have been hectic, and thus I am a bit late on this, but I wanted to follow up on my post from May 1, 2008 about the Hyres Photography Festival and the work of Diana Scherer.
First let me reiterate how impressed I was with the work competing at Hyeres, not just the winners. I am smitten with the photo-diaries of Patrick Tsai & Madi Ju, which I feel are relevant and should be recorded, because it reflects the contemporary world so well and also how it is changing.
Another artists I was introduced to via Hyeres was Diana Scherer . I was instinctively interested in her "Still-Life" work, but was left uneasy because of the implication of violence in Ms. Scherer's work (take a look also at her series "Handmade Original", "Maedchen" & "Frauen" ). I have a similar reaction to the work of Alison Brady. Ms. Scherer however does not just depict women, like Ms. Brady .
Diana Scherer's interest in death is universal and the images that I am interested in and attracted to are those of her "Still-life" series - presenting tableaux with dead animals. Perhaps for me it is easier to look at death when it is an animal than when it is a human being depicted, as it is more removed and I do not have to face my own mortality. I guess that would be the obvious and most trite explanation. However I also find the animal form more worthy of examination (I mostly photograph animals in my personal work). I certainly find the animal symbolically more "pure" and universal.
From an aesthetic point of view I knew Ms. Schere's images worked and that they are interesting, but I wasn't so sure if they were jibing with my ethics. I do understand that millions of animals are slaughtered everyday for no purpose or the purpose of consumption, however I do not like the idea of using an animal purposely for an art project, even if it could potentially produce change. The husband and I had many discussion about this complex issue.
Thus I was reluctant to embrace Diana Scherer's work, because while the images are seductive and clever, I was not sure how I felt about them because I did not have more information about how they were made.
But the "Godfather"of Photo Blogging, as Joerg Colberg was so aptly and affectionately named by Andrew Hetherington, gave me some feedback on the work. Joerg Colberg was a judge at Hyeres and while he is not speaking for Diana directly he explained that while he met her at Heres, she clarified the story behind her work and that all the animals she used were already dead and not killed for the purpose of her work. She also recounted that her grandfather was a hunter and that she loved animals and could not understand death and would try to revive the dead animals. Apparently part of her hopes of saving the animals involved her placing the dead animals in her grandparent's bed. Love that tidbit!

I want to thank Joerg Colberg for giving me some extra information on the work. It has made a huge difference and also reminded me how great the photo blogosphere can be.The exchange of information is invaluable and best of all: it is accessible to most.
Ms. Scherer's work has given me a little insight into the motivation behind some of my own work and hopefully I can blog about that soon. I am still formulating my thoughts and trying to tie Goethe, Gerhard Richter, Diana Scherer and myself together; I am getting there slowly.

Oh and talking about animals in art: Thank you, Rona --who sent me the most beautiful postcard depicting deer - from a Chinese hanging scroll from the 10 or 11th Century.