Thursday, September 30, 2010

Filter Photo Festival

It is coming up next week. The brain child of Sarah Hadley, Filter Photo will offer the Chicago Photographic community a five day event dedicated to inspiring and educating emerging and professional photographers. There will be an opening Wednesday, October 6, 6-9 pm, of a juried show, "Bauhaus Inspired Photography" at the Chicago Photography Center followed by multiple lectures, master classes, portfolio reviews, and panel offerings. It is clearly a photography lovers delight. I will be teaching a workshop Finding Your Muse ~ Reflections On the Creative Process, from 9am-1pm on Friday morning. I am really looking forward to sharing my insights about art making. Hope to see you there!

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

On Balance...Hubertus von der Goltz

The Encounter by Hubertus von der Goltz is an amazing piece. Each time I view it, it has different meaning for me. I finally decided to learn more about it and to my surprise, I had only been seeing on half of the piece! The work was created and installed atop the Maple Avenue Garage for the City of Evanston in December 2009. Created by artist Hubertus von der Goltz, The Encounter features two figures delicately balancing and moving toward each other.

Not having seen the second figure, I was thinking about how life...every moment, hour, day, week and a balancing act.
Keeping the mind, body and spirit in a state of equilibrium each and every day is a balancing act.

"Keep The Balance", 2009, Sculpture Project for Riverside Landscaping Belt at World Expo 2010, Shanghai, China

On his website Hubertus von der Goltz states..

"In the distance on a building high above, a man tries to maintain his balance along a narrow steel beam. Both him and the beam seem somewhat superfluous to the structure of the building. Why is he up there and what is he doing? Our pulse quickens in respond to the spectacle above, and gives us cause to question the man`s sanity. Hubertus von der Goltz´s two-dimensional silhouettes can only sustain this deception momentarily, however, and the drama of the situation finally gives way to reality.

Balance is at the core of Hubertus von der Goltz´s work. The subtly rendered gestures and postures of his figures are poised to reflect the allegorical possibilities which balance suggests. The rise and fall of mankind are contained in their lofty heights, precarious disposition, and enduring stance. His figures are powerful, concise symbols, epitomizing the trials and tribulations of human existence."

"On The Way" Drielanden, Harderwijk, 2005, Netherlands

Auf dem Weg", Binningen, Basel, 2008, Schweiz

The Encounter, Sculpture for Evanston Illinois by H.v.d. Goltz from Peter Hartel on Vimeo.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Back from San Francisco

I'm back after a fabulous weekend in SUNNY San Francisco. The gallery talk and reception at Corden Potts was a wonderful experience in which I had the opportunity to think about my work more deeply and connect with other artists and collectors. Jan Potts and Liz Corden are awesome as is their gallery. It was one of those perfect days in which I was surrounded by family and friends talking about what I love.

It was great to see my photography friends including Luis Delgado. He has been incredibly prolific and has an exhibit, Amuse Bouche & Arbor at the Gallery 291 (291 Geary, 5th Floor). A little closer to home (my home, that is) is Mano Mundo Corazón,Artists Interpret La Lotería at the Center for Book & Paper Arts,Columbia College from September 9 - December 10. He told me has has 6 different venues in which he is showing his work. For more info, go to his website.

I had a chance to catch up with Ann Jastrab, an amazing, charismatic gallery director of the RayKo Photo Center in SF. Ann is a great supporter of photography and from what I heard, may be single handedly responsible for the amazing gallery opening turn out at Rayko. They are lucky to have her. BTW, they are having a 2010 KODACHROME JURIED SHOW with an October 4th deadline. Check it out!

I also met Rachel Phillips and was thrilled to become familiar with her work and talk "shop." Rachel does pigment transfers prints onto vintage envelopes. She is represented by Modernbook Gallery.

Mayfair Air Mail

PA Square House

Hotel Plaza

Heather Polley's portfolio, Vanitas, was a pleasure to view in person. They are exquisite prints of still lifes.

The Five Senses

In her words...
"As a member of Bay Area Photographers Collective, I had the opportunity to participate in our "group project", where every interested member works on the same theme. "Loss" was the new topic, and I was not sure whether I would participate. When I thought about ideas that other BAPC members had for the project, it did not resonate with my own life experiences. My immediate family and friends are, thankfully, all still alive and healthy. I decided that I needed to approach the topic from a completely different direction for it to be truly personal work. I wanted to address a fear of loss in the future—loss of loved ones, of youth, of opportunities for happiness in my life. I asked friends and family most dear to me for symbolic belongings to photograph, as a way to contain their memory while they still live.

The series Vanitas is inspired by European, especially Dutch Baroque, still life painting. Vanitas as a genre employed props as reminders of the transience of life and the inevitability of death. These photographs are not intended to be slavish copies of Old Masters. Some of the original paintings deliberately contained seductive objects to make a moralistic stance about sin, while simultaneously celebrating life’s pleasures. I have turned this notion on its head by removing any moral undertones and simply concentrating on the sensuality of the photograph itself. Savor it all before it fades to dust.

I have included many traditional objects symbolic of the transience of life, including fruit, flowers, overturned empty glasses, snuffed candles, sweets, jewelry, watches, portraits, and anything in a state of decay. Along the way I also chose my own symbolic objects, many of which have been literally cast off of living things, such as shells, cracked eggs, feathers, seed pods, and broken glass.

I view each photograph as a freestanding piece, much like the individual paintings that inspired them. Each piece may have a unique composition and may address a unique point of view. The series has expanded into exploring loss that has already occurred in my life."

The Elixir of Love

Mandarin Oranges

Seed Pod and Parrot Feathers

Alyson Belcher's pinhole self portraits reminded my so much of Austrian photographer Rudolf Koppitz's (1884-1936) nude self portraits. It seems they are both drawing from the collective unconscious. Alyson is represented by the Robert Tat Gallery and she mentioned that is is gearing up for a show at the BMG Gallery in Woodstock, NY.

San Francisco was full of surprises, one of which looked like a gay pride gathering. We were driving thru the city and happened upon some men walking toward the event in their "birthday suits," plus socks, hiking boots and backpacks. Being a photographer, I, of course, photographed out the car window....but I will spare you the details.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Gregory Scott shortlisted by The Guggenheim Museum

Gregory Scott's At the Beach was shortlisted by The Guggenheim Museum project, “YouTube Play, A Biennial of Creative Video”. So so fun! There were a mere 23,000 submissions from 91 countries! Have a look and see. His work incorporates photography, video and painting. He broke the mold and deserves to be celebrated!

An article by the New York Times is HERE. The rest of the short list can be seen HERE. It will provide hours of entertainment by very talented artists.

Thursday, September 16, 2010

Intimate Moments ~ Frank Yamrus and Emily Heller

I am heading to San Francisco next week and in thinking about the visit, I thought I would share some compelling photography by a few San Francisco photographers. Years ago I met Frank Yamrus at Fotofest and saw his work, Rapture. It has stayed with me for years, as has Emily Heller's portraits. Rarely do we see ourselves so intimately and clearly. Our biology is inescapable.

untitled (Paul), 1999

In Frank's words...

"Foremost, I see this work to be about rapture. These portraits were taken over a four month period from October 99 through January 00. I was interested in exploring intimate and honest moments of "rapture" that we usually do not have the opportunity to witness outside of personal experiences, let alone contemplate in a still photograph.

In this project I have stripped the subject and the viewer of all context and environment to examine these very moments. As a point of departure, I have asked my subjects to masturbate to orgasm(s). Much of this project was about trust and comfort level; therefore the images were shot in my home. Each subject was photographed from the initial moment of stimulation through 8-10 minutes after orgasm(s). The first 20-30 images were about establishing a deeper comfort level, another level of trust. In order to examine this state of "rapture" the subject needed to let go. In many of the images, the subject appears to have reached this level while other images represent the struggle of this process and reflective of certain truths. The editing process brought me to these images before you.

The window of time represented in this collection of images is approximately 5 minutes before orgasm to approximately 5 minutes after orgasm. There are a few images that are the actual moment of climax, but the work is not specifically about orgasm, but about rapture. Although the physiology of the physical crisis is unavoidable, I am more interested in the psychology of this time frame. These photographs represent a blending of the psychology and physiology surrounding this event."

untitled (Greg), 1999

untitled (Del), 2000


untitled(Jeffery), 1999

untitled(Astrid), 1999

In her Portrait series, Emily Heller states, "Food is a pleasurable, important, and joyful part of everyday life but it also has a dark side. It is the ultimate symbol of our overconsumptive culture as we literally feed our bodies with our search for identity, status, and a sense of belonging." One feels the discomfort of a voyeur when viewing the images, experiencing unavoidable tension between the natural and the strange.








Wednesday, September 15, 2010

Moving off the Grid ~ Lucas Foglia

I went to several art openings last Friday night in Chicago. The David Weinberg gallery (which I sadly learned will be closing it's doors in March 2011) had a wonderful exhibition of the Yale University School of Art 2010 MFA Photography Candidates. I don't know what it is about that school but they turn out some extraordinary artists, one if which is Lucas Foglia.

Patrick and Anakeesta, Tennessee 2007

I saw this breathtaking photograph which I find incredibly beautiful and disturbing. I could spend hours contemplating it's meaning. I returned home that night and opened my latest Aperture Magazine and not surprisingly, Foglia's work was featured. With all that is going on in the world today, one does wonder what it would be like to live "off the grid."

Foglia's artist statment...

"Since 2006 I have traveled throughout the southeastern United States, befriending, photographing, and interviewing a network of people who left cities and suburbs to live off the grid. Motivated by environmental concerns, religious beliefs, or predictions of economic collapse, my subjects build their homes from local materials, obtain their water from nearby springs, and hunt, gather, or grow their own food.

All the people in my photographs are working to maintain a self-sufficient lifestyle, but no one I found lives in complete isolation from the mainstream. Many of my subjects have websites that they update using laptop computers, and cell phones that they charge on car batteries or solar panels. They do not wholly reject the modern world. Instead, they step away from it and choose the parts that they want to bring with them. "

Pixie and Kyd's Duet, Falling Leaves Rendezvous, Georgia 2007

Homeschooling, Tennessee 2008

Bear, Shot by a Neighbor, Kevin's Land, Virginia 2008

Valerie and the Shadow, Tennessee 2008

Andrew and Taurin Drinking Raw Goat's Milk, Tennessee 2009

National Geographic, Wildroots Homestead, North Carolina 2008

Saturday, September 11, 2010

Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison

Went to a few openings last night in Chicago and feel really inspired. Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison have work at the Catherine Edelman gallery which is totally stunning. They are giving an gallery talk at noon today if you are in the area. Should be really interesting. The work is seamless and so beautifully executed. The title of the show is wonder I like it so much!

The Source (2004)

Burn Season (2003)

Study for Hi-Rise Planting (1993)

Study for Flight (1993)

Study of Nest (1994)

"Robert & Shana ParkeHarrison began collaborating on photographs shortly after graduate school, when they began constructing and choreographing scenarios about mans affect on the landscape. In these stagings, Robert would dress in a black suit and starched white shirt -- often referred in the press as an Everyman – and interact with the land, creating environmental performances. These surreal images addressed issues about the earth and mankind's responsibility to heal the damage he has done to its landscape. Often acting as earth's protector, healer and communicator, Everyman used low-tech instruments, creating settings more akin to cinema than the family photo album. These ground breaking images can be seen in their first monograph, The Architect's Brother."

You won't want to miss this show.

Thursday, September 09, 2010

Taking Stock and Writers Block

Fall has arrived. As I look back over the summer I am overwhelmed with how packed it was, from multiple family visits and the creation and dissemination of Crude Awakening. And tonight I have 2 simultaneous openings, one in Chicago at 310conTEMPORARY Gallery and one in San Francisco at the Corden Potts Gallery. There is much coming up...but in the mean time, my glasses broke, my car is in need of repairs, there is a water leak in the house and my computer keeps reminding me that my start up disc is dangerously full. There is much to take care of.

What I hope for this coming fall is to focus on my teaching engagements, for which I am so delighted and honored to be involved in. I have my critique group starting up this week and several speaking and workshop commitments. I also spent this past week in the North Woods of Wisconsin cutting out 1000 monarch butterflies that will be part of an installation that I am working on for the Frontera Grill space. I would love to post some pix but am too nervous to download anything more on to this computer. I am having a 2TB internal drive installed on my computer tomorrow. Once that happens, I will be sailing!

Whew! I finally posted. Hope everyone is well.

Wednesday, September 01, 2010


Collect.give is the brilliant creation of Kevin J. Miyazaki, a Milwaukee-based editorial and fine art photographer. I found out about the project after reading a very compelling article in May in the NYT by Nicholas Kristof, Celebrate : Save the Mother. I began thinking about how I could use my photography to raise awareness for women around the world. I reached out to Aline Smithson, an amazing photographer and networker, to see if she would be interested. She directed me to Collect.give. A program was already in place. I realized I did not need to reinvent the wheel and was happily invited to be one of the contributors.

As of September 1st, the Wedding Portrait will be for sale in a very limited edition of 25, 7" x 10.5" archival pigment prints for $40.00 a print. A steal!!!! AND what is really great is all the $ will be donated to The Lower Ninth Ward Village, an amazing organization run by amazing people. This image is included in my book, Look and Leave : Photographs and Stories from New Orleans's Lower Ninth Ward.

I do hope you will consider purchasing a print. They are all ready to be shipped. Just go onto the Collect.give site to order. It is that easy!