6 spring street
artist statements: :: Hey, Hot Shot! 2011 First Edition Showcase
The photographs in the series Candy are taken off a computer’s screen showing video streams with male strippers. The video streams are transmitted live, in real time across the internet and are accessible through several web sites, without registration, for free. Payment is only necessary for private one-on-one time with a stripper. In addition to the video streams, the web sites support mutual text messaging between strippers and viewers.
My work combines photography, collage, sculpture and installation. This mixed media approach results from a fascination with the photographic medium. I have an ongoing tumultuous relationship with the photograph—its limitations, its farcical nature and its historical and present contexts. It’s a universal language that is so varied in its uses and understandings, and I’m deeply invested in exploring it. I’m interested in the practice of making abstract, or re-interpreting reality and the everyday to make new surrealities. My process involves using both found and created objects to build sculptures and installations in various environments. These sculptures are then rendered flat through the photographic image, controlling the viewer’s access to them. Often, an additional level of dimensionality is added by presenting the photograph as a multi-dimensional object. Guided heavily by intuition and informed by historical and theoretical writing, pop culture and personal experience, I concentrate on challenging one’s faith in perception, creating layers of meaning.
After receiving my undergraduate degree with an emphasis on U.S. foreign policy in Central America, I wanted to move beyond the broad recital of policy and ideology within textbooks and explore the personal experiences of individuals directly affected by those policies. This body of work was created between the years 2009 and 2011, during a prolonged stay in the highlands of Northern Nicaragua. These photographs are from a larger series consisting of portraits of Sandinistas and their opposing Contra veterans, as well as artifacts and landscapes significant to the civil war that took place in Nicaragua during the 1980s.
In 1979, after over a decade of struggle, the socialist Sandinista movement in Nicaragua overthrew the dictator, Anastasio Somoza. The Sandinistas quickly began the work of applying their social and ideological values in the hopes of creating a better Nicaragua. Unfortunately, the United States government had other plans. In the cold war environment of the 1980s, the prospect of a socialist/communist government gaining a foothold in Central America was deemed unacceptable. The CIA began financing, arming and training a clandestine rebel insurgency to destabilize the government. These anti-Sandinista guerrillas became known as Contras. Between 1980 and 1990, Nicaragua became the battleground of conflicting political ideologies; the promise of a bright future was lost as the nation descended into civil war. Although these two sides held polarized political philosophies, their survivors are united by the burden of a war-torn history. As political ideology evolves, dilutes or disappears, the horrors of war endure.
In this series I am responding to photographs both as representations and tangible objects. Through physically altering enlarged prints and then re-photographing the results, I create works that oscillate between image and object, photography and sculpture, landscape and still life. While they may appear illusory, the resulting pictures are documents of actual events and are thus as authentic as the original representational images contained within.
My process unfolds through observation and experimentation - I let the image and its materiality dictates its direction. Playing with paper and with light in unplanned and organic ways, I look for new ways to perceive the space, form, and context of my subjects. In some works, large pieces of the original image are torn out while in others, smaller parts are more subtly altered. I use a large format view camera throughout my process so I can control perspective and record as much detail as possible. Whether focused on a ripped paper edge or a nesting bird, I hope to reach a place where picture elements interact and merge in unpredictable and expressive ways.
Missing Parts is a photographic series limited to the Susanoglu Beach and its off seasons, in terms of space and time. The project has been realized through returning to Susanoglu many times, working repeatedly on the subject, and has intensified, gaining a sharper focus since 2004. Social and political issues inevitably come into frame of this series immediately, as the area has been rapidly urbanized since the '80s. Limiting the study to the off-season might be an attempt to question the flipside of leisure culture—investigating the pain to understand the pleasure better. The tourism boom and its utterly devastating effects are still at work today, but the transformation and its social or cultural implications are not the core issues of this project. Far from claiming to be an objective photographic documentary, the artist defines Missing Parts as a series about documenting the euphoria of a raised awareness and is a personal project. Commonplace things become the visual material of an extraordinary experience; the banal reveals its poetic aspect. Worn out things become brand new questions and are rehandled, emphasizing their simplicity and formal elements, foregrounding their subtle palettes with painterly concerns. The fact that the location has a significant importance in the artist's memories since the early days of his childhood also deepens the emphasis on the personal nature of the project.