While looking for images of Justine's to post I stumbled upon this blog of the photographer Raul Gutierrez which has a seemingly endless supply of amazing links to photographers. It will take me forever to follow these links.......I fully look forward to it. These images here are Gutierrez, who photographs places that are rapidly changing. These are from the desert and mountain regions of China's western borders.
This is what he wrote about his work:
"In these dusty forgotten places I found way stations between cultures where one can see the past and future simultaneously. One year a road is made of dirt. A year later it is gravel. Three years later it is a four lane highway. Ancient cities are razed and rebuilt with breathtaking disregard for history. Land which was open for nomads is fenced an mined. Seeing these changes over such a short time is a perspective that is at once disorienting and tragic. I try to make images that show these things or at least some of the emotional truths behind them, because I know that by the time I return everything will be almost unrecognizable."
It's not often I get visitors from out of town, being a little off the beaten path, but fortunately Justine's path is off the beaten path, in her Mama Van, w/ her little boy and all her gear to photograph. She has maintained this vagabond life for longer than I thought possible, w/ a toddler in tow.... I admire the commitment and, because I'm aware of the ups and downs and the stamina required, I admire the way she's woven her art into her life so thoroughly and determinedly. It's an amazing process that results in so many strong and interesting images. Each time she's traveling through she's searching out something different. Last year it was "naked mamas and babies" and this year it's some fellow travelers, but of a different ilk. I'll be excited to see how this new work emerges.
I was introduced to The Brothers Quay in college. Their films are amazing. A visual eye-candy of sorts, but very dark, more like a strong dark licorice. I hadn't heard or seen anything from them in years and began to wonder what they're up to.
Turns out they've been very active. In the last few years they've released 3 feature length live action films, mixed w/ some animation (Institute Benjamenta, or This Dream People Call Human Life (1995), The Piano Tuner of Earthquakes (2006), Sanatorium Under the Sign of the Hourglass (TBA) and have now have a DVD available of their short animations. You can get it here. They've even done a couple of videos for His Name is Alive, Michael Penn, Sparklehorse and some others. Check out the His Name is Alive video here, can't seem to find the others yet.
Now I've got to get my hands on these feature length films! Has anyone seen them?
I have to thank The Lumper for introducing me to so many artists. Jade Pegler is one of these, and she has a great website w/ an impressive amount of work! When I showed Nicholas Jones (Australians, both) earlier I marveled at the craftmanship, but I also admire artists who can work prolifically w/ such a loose sense of craft while indulging in aesthetics and inventiveness. She works across the mediums in many different materials and from what I can see on the website it would seem this work just pours out of her!
Ok, so I mentioned a few posts ago that I had worked w/ sculptural books awhile ago and that got me to thinking about this work and wanting to dig them out of their boxes to take another look at them. I did have a great time making these. I was, of course, looking at a lot of Joseph Cornell. It's hard not to be influenced by his work, if you're touching found images and text. He's the man!
What I loved about working this way was the process of letting the ideas and images reveal themselves as I worked from boxes and bags of images and texts and stacks of books, which I was constantly replenishing from free boxes, thrift stores or wherever they had been abandoned. There was something so nice about using abandoned material to create new imagery. Sometimes the ideas would reveal themselves on the floor, as I was sweeping up the scraps and realizing they needed to be used in some way. I have bags and bags of these scraps begging to be used.....somewhere.
A friend of mine sent this artist's website my way yesterday. I'm so glad she thought to share this w/ me because it is such a great find. I love the tiny intricate details, the use of "hobby" materials, the incredibly small scale, not to mention the great narrative imagery! A bit Crewdson-esque but the modesty of size and the toy-quality lend this work a charming sense of humor.