Friday, January 27, 2012

Christopher Porche West of New Orleans

To walk by Christopher Porche West's studio is to flirt with the muses. There is something about his space that pulls you in, capturing a sense of the soul of New Orleans. When entering into his studio (or to my mind, an installation) one is reminded of the Joseph Campbell boxes. Well aged architectural artifacts encase his photographs with candles scattered through out, creating a sacred environment and offering a testimony to New Orleans's rich heritage. Tucked into the Bywaters neighborhood, it was a treat to behold. West's work is also on display at Snug Harbor on Frenchmen's Street but to get the full effect, you must visit his studio.

"Porché West’s artful expresssions exists at the nexus of photography and sculpture, the point where photography and sculpture converge. Dramatic and thought-provoking photographs are “housed” within salvaged architectural elements adorned with thought-provoking, symbolic objects. The net effect is additive - the sum is greater than the parts - photographs encorported within sculpture deepen the meaning and message of the art."

"It is Porché West’s contention that flat photographs fail to achieve the richness and dimensionality of photographic sculpture. Though a framed photograph can tell a good story, a photograph “housed” in sculpture gives a more nuances and deep narrative. Salvaged architectural debris door casings, flooring, window frames, knobs and pulls give the photograph a sense of place, an authenticity that comes from being at home in the soul of the artist’s works."

"Porché West’s assemblage is cultural “curatorialism” masked as art. The simple behaviors and beliefs of ordinary people are universal and easily understood. Religious faith, death and burial rituals, celebration and suffering are comprehended, if not shared, by all humanity. To see one’s own emotions in the face of a Haitian child or the hands of an elderly woman in New Orleans, is to be reminded that that which binds us together is greater than that which divides us. We are in essence, one."

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