In the spirit of Amy Stein’s “photo battle” series… Shawn Records caught the bug too… ( comparisons / contrasts – I find sometimes make the most thought provoking combinations – sometimes…) I decided to begin my own series of comparisons. Many times I’ve come across photographs or paintings which for some reason or another – remind me of another photo / painting. It’s not so much that I like one or the other images – or that I think one is better than the other – it’s more about seeing the two together and figuring out something about it from there on…
So here it goes with “Painting / Photo battle #1: – the orifices – a face off of sorts.
Mund / Mouth (Brigitte Bardot’s Lips) – 1963 – Gerhard Richter
Oil on canvas
Liz No. 3, 2006 – Jason Horowitz
From Jason Horowitz statement:
The work is an on-going exploration of people and the human form. The images reveal a hyper-realistic amount of detail about the subject and explore the relationship between photographic representation and painterly abstraction, the formal elements in tension with the emotional content of the subject matter. The flesh depicted is simultaneously seductive and repulsive. Shot with the same ‘glamour’ lighting set-up used for fashion images, these photographs subvert that process to look at what is real rather than ideal. Larger than life, these images become a vehicle for looking deeply at one’s self and others.
Blue Sky Gallery is currently exhibiting a selection of prints from a series of photographs by Jason Horowitz called “Corpus”. I attended the gallery talk this past Saturday which has become a favorite of mine – to hear a bit more about the work offered up by the artist. There were a couple of interesting comments – one was on technique and one was actually about the photographs – both of which resonated with me.
First – the inevitable question “what camera / film did you use…” of which I was completely happy to hear Horowitz rephrased the question to a more poignant point – which is that technique (process) matters in so far as the final product (the image) presents what the artist was after – in this case – it’s about presenting “hyper real detail” (and more) of the physical surface of the subject – oh and if it matters to you, it was all digital – a Canon 5d – printed on an ink-jet by Horowitz himself… So the “how” only matter’s in that he manages to get what he’s after. So much for the film snobbery angle…
Second – the other question / statement from the crowd was about how the images (more here) seemed to be rather ugly (to one particular person anyway). Most of the images elicited a response: “like a car wreck where you can’t look away” – sometimes just short of disgust. I’d guess this was probably one of the best responses you could imagine getting from the crowd about your work on the wall. If what you see in the images is disgusting – are you able to ask yourself – why? Is the “real” human body beautiful anymore – or only that imaginary idealized image? What parts of your own body would you feel comfortable submitting to this sort of scrutiny? How strong is your own self image. I think for me, mostly I felt very self conscious in front of these images – who wouldn’t? For me anyway – Horowitz’s work seemed to achieve a measure of success – There’s something at both ends of the spectrum working here – the general (fragment of a body – anybody) yet very, very specific – this person – that skin – this hair – that mole on this skin fold… I think that’s why the response was widely shared – we could all connect at some level with the images in front of us.
It’s worth a look on your own time in person to see what you think if you get the chance – the full effect of the images is not able to be had by seeing them reproduced on the web.
Bruce No. 2, 2006 – Jason Horowitz
So to close the loop (on this navel gazing exercise anyway) -the initial impulse to consider the painting (itself beautiful / ugly) a completely different sort of constructed image -( More on the assumed subject of Richter’s painting – http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Brigitte_Bardot) -is to consider that powerful thing which is truly a unique quality to photography. Simply this: The camera is capable in the right hands to allow you to see much more than you might think and you need not try to escape the facts in front of the lens – in this case the all the better to embrace those facts.