Thursday, June 20, 2013

A Cairn To Celebrate Memories Past & Present

A cairn to celebrate life. June, 2013. Iceland. One of 
a kind image on Harmen Direct Positive Paper. 

Today marks my 20th day in the wonderful country of Iceland. While I can't express enough the spectrum of life that now fills my heart and soul from being here, I must say it has been quite a struggle. Physically and mentally, I feel marked by my time here. These struggles come from an odd mix of circumstances. I have still not completely digested the fact that I finished my MFA and thesis show, then had a week and a half after to pack my whole life up and put it in storage. There is also a slight unforgivingness to the land here that has not only weathered me down emotionally, but has also had its effects physically. However, and more important than anything, the loss of my mother has weighed on me significantly. I was told of her loss on my third morning here. Already jet lagged, and not used to the constant light, I will never forget that day.

One of the hardest decisions I ever had to make was the decision not to go to her funeral. Not only did I know the travel back to the states would make me sick, both mentally and physically, but in the end, I am fond of my last memory of her. I didn't want to change that. I decided to stay here and celebrate her life the way I needed to. Though I cannot speak for my mother, I think she would be happy with my decision to not only deal with the circumstances the way I felt best, but to also keep looking ahead. Since I had just graduated two weeks before, I didn't get a chance to really talk to her about it, but I know she was extremely proud of my accomplishment in school and for my residencies. I am very glad she got to see such things. She always said she was proud of her son. That means so much to me.

The next three days might have been the hardest days of my life. Forget stressing out over framing and hanging a thesis show, or moving across country, or not having a home to come back to. This was the woman who brought me into this world. The loss of her was so outstanding to me beyond my limits of thinking. I couldn't begin to know how to treat that. She was only 49.

A few days later, I rented a jeep as part of my plan to circle the ring road of Iceland in search of lakes, rivers, and the sea as part of my project out here. Other than these projects, the only other thing that I knew for sure I wanted to do while out here was to make a cairn. Cairns are man made piles of stones, which have been used for various things such as path markers, monuments, or for ceremonial reasons. I learned about the countless number of these cairns in Iceland some years ago, when one of my favorite artists, Christopher Colville, made a series of tin type photographs of them during his travels here. I learned of how people made them as a symbol of their journey, whether for spiritual, religious, or other personal meanings.

On the first day of my four day trip, I already knew that this was how I wanted to celebrate the memory of my mother. I also looked at the map and instantly knew where it had to be: north of Raufarhöfn, the most northern part of the mainland in Iceland. This area was two hours away from the ring road, and not anywhere I had planned to be for this trip. It seemed completely relevant to not only have to make more of a journey out of this, but it felt very symbolic to do so in the most northern part of the island. The location on the map referenced the symbolism of looking up to the sky, the idea of where heaven is, of where our lost ones go. I am not a religious person and question those kinds of beliefs, but in that moment, it was what felt right spiritually.

I made it to Raufarhöfn late on the third night of my trip, which of course didn't feel late since the midnight sun was hiding behind very thick clouds amongst the Arctic Ocean. I took a seascape photograph of the ocean, dodged an attack by birds (for the third time), and spent an hour searching for stones and building my cairn. I then, hesitantly, took one photograph of it, on a positive film that acts the same way as Polaroid, which gave me one original print. I didn't originally want to photograph the cairn, because I felt it went against the ideas it represented, but in the end, I really wanted my family members to see it. I knew they would have a great appreciation for this, and understand the beauty I try to find in celebrating her life.

This cairn represents the loving memory of my mother, Terri Clarke, and the journeys ahead, in which she will always be a part of me.

Monday, February 25, 2013

Artist Book: Lament

Info about the content of this book will be posted soon!

Handmade Artist Book
15 pages, 8.3 x 6.5 in. Hard Cover Cloth Bound.
13 Images Printed on Gelatin Silver Paper, Unfixed.
Images Mounted and Text Printed on Off White Cover Stock.
Signed & Numbered in an edition of 5.
1. NFS    2. Donated to the Indie Photobook Library    
3, 4 & 5 available for purchase. Please inquire if you are interested

Saturday, February 16, 2013

The Modern Coastline

One of my images was featured on the SFMOMA Submission Friday Posts on their Tumblr page. Below American Gothic!

Tuesday, January 29, 2013

All of these memories must leave me

Disappearing photographs printed on Gelatin Silver Paper. 

Sunday, January 6, 2013

Waterfall, wooded hallway

A sunny afternoon, a windy evening, and a gray rainy Christmas.

Last images made in 2012. Ocean Beach and Sonoma Coast Beach. 

Wednesday, January 2, 2013

A Fall Night, Walking

These images were made in October, 2012 at Haystack Mountain School of Craft

Thursday, December 27, 2012

Exhibitions of 2012

     Photographs from two exhibitions this fall, both of which included my seascape photographs. The top five images are from an exhibition called Peripheries, at The Diego Rivera Gallery at the San Francisco Art Institute, with Missy Weimer and Raelyn Ruppel. I hung 28 seascapes prints with the horizon parallel. The installation became both about the individual images and the installation as a whole, creating one large horizon line and engulfing the viewers peripheries. 

     The bottom five photographs are from a show I had in October at The Hallway Gallery, in Jamaica Plain, MA. This show, titled sea-coast/sea-ghost, consisted of two different bodies of work. I hung a smaller selection of seascape photographs on one wall, and 5 large scale photograms on the opposite wall, which is only about five feet away, hence why its called The Hallway Gallery. The photograms had a wavy, ghost-like fluidness to them, giving more of a physical representation to the idea of being engulfed by the sea. They were hung from the top with the bottom left to curl out toward the viewer. 

     While the seascapes were hung with the horizon line parallel, I personally had a different experience with this installation verses the one I had at The Diego Rivera Gallery. Since you could only back up about 5 feet away from the images at The Hallway Gallery, you were never really able to take in all of the images at once, and the further away ones really faded out of sight, whereas at the Diego Rivera Gallery, you were able to stand about 30 feet back and experience that line from a distance. Both had different effects and it was interesting to be able to experience the work in two totally different ways. 

 Me, Missy and Raelyn during our installation of Peripheries at The Diego Rivera Gallery. 

Two Views of my installation, 28 images all hung with the horizon line parallel.

Raelyn talking about her work during our artist talk at the opening reception. 

During the opening reception of Peripheries.

Me and Brent, friend and owner of The Hallway Gallery, hang my show sea-coast/sea-ghost.

 First half of the show installed, 17 framed seascapes, with the horizon parallel.  

Whole view of sea-coast/sea-ghost, at The Hallway Gallery, October 2012. 

Five large scale photograms, hung from the top and left to curl at the bottom. 

Wednesday, December 26, 2012