Wednesday, December 30, 2015

Artists Ponder Food - Valerie Belin wins 2015 Prix Pictet

The photographs of Valerie Belin speak simply of our 21st century obsessiveness and materialism with a fetid richness that reminds me of my childhood captivation with the paintings of Ivan Albright.
Ivan Albright, Flesh (Smaller than Tears Are the Little Blue Flowers), 1928
The iconography of ValĂ©rie Belin’s photographs is silent. It has that silence that precedes disasters and then follows them. The silence of accidents, the spectacular labyrinths of glass and mirrors, of ceremonies, the bodies and faces where we do not know whether the beings they belonged to are still alive. The absence of any dramatisation, the determination not to strive for effect, come together in the production of images without affection. Even with themes, figures and subjects that bring a whole culture of expressiveness with them.What is this ailment which is both contained and exposed? The paradox that runs through all her work makes up its aesthetic purpose but also seems to be tributary to a situation typical of the history of art in the late 20th century.....That is when the brilliance of black reveals the substance of a morbid aesthetic. Morbidity, despite its first syllable, is not death; it refers to sickness. And so this may be a sick relation with culture described by the delicate treatment of flesh, the very definition of sickly grace: morbidezza. - Michel Poivert
 How appropriate Belin has won this year's Prix Pictet
The mission of Prix Pictet is to the search for photographs that communicate messages of global significance under the broad theme of sustainability. For the Sixth Prix Pictet the theme is Disorder. Previous laureates of the award have been Benoit Aquin (Water), Nadav Kander (Earth), Mitch Epstein (Growth), Luc Delahaye (Power) and Michael Schmidt (Consumption).In his foreword to the accompanying book, Disorder, Kofi Annan writes, “Our times are defined by Disorder – disorder, at the very moment in human history when we almost dared imagine that no problem was beyond our capacity to solve. Remarkable advances in medicine have helped to eradicate scores of formerly fatal diseases. We are capable of breathtaking feats of engineering – raising mighty dams, flood defences and soaring earthquake-proof buildings. Our mastery over manifold aspects of life has deluded us into thinking that we have bent the planet to our will. Yet the fragility of that assumption is exposed with each new pandemic, earthquake, tsunami or drought. With each passing day our illusion of order is shattered.”An exhibition of the images shortlisted for the award will now tour the world. The tour begins at MAXXI in Rome and will then travel to major international museums and galleries including the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Museum, Geneva; Westbau, Zurich; CAB (Contemporary Art Brussels), the Palau Robert, Barcelona and the Museum of Photographic Art, San Diego. Proposals from other leading galleries and museums are currently under review.

Chips #4, 2004

Bob #5, 2012

Still Life with Vase, 2014

Fruits Baskets, Untitled, 2007

Research: Nature and Language of Plants and Soil

Our hero, Charles Darwin single handedly invented the scientific discipline of biology. Among his greatest teachers were plants and earth creatures living with him on his on his estate: beans, earthworms and beetles, to name a few. In The Power of Movement in Plants (1880) he asserts that plants speak in a chemical vocabulary we can’t directly perceive or comprehend, especially because we are blinded by our own definitions of intelligence and consciousness.  

Michael Pollan discusses recent developments in plant neurobiology, suggesting that it is in humanity's best interests to learn from plant behavior. "Because plants are sensitive and intelligent beings, we are obliged to treat them with some degree of respect."
...The central issue dividing the plant neurobiologists from their critics would appear to be this: Do capabilities such as intelligence, pain perception, learning, and memory require the existence of a brain, as the critics contend, or can they be detached from their neurobiological moorings? The question is as much philosophical as it is scientific, since the answer depends on how these terms get defined....

That plants possess an intelligence is not new knowledge, but according to Modern Farmer, a new study from the University of Missouri shows plants can sense when they are being eaten and send out defense mechanisms to try to stop it from happening.

Plants and soil have a mysterious relationship - friends, cousins, lovers - communing in a specific, miraculous chemical vocabulary we observe, but do not understand. Freelance journalist, author and essayist, Kristin Ohlson studied the soil and concludes in her book, The Soil Will Save Us concludes that the low-cost, low-tech solution to climate change may be directly underfoot—in healthy soil. Crops have an enormous capability to sequester carbon, she writes, but only if the soil is made to thrive with a mix of no-till farming, cover crops, and livestock grazing.

In order to fully embrace and communicate with the wisdom of the earth, consider the Bios Urn, a fully biodegradable urn designed to convert you into a tree after life. Mainly composed of two parts, the urn contains a seed which will grow to in the name of your loved one. Bios Urn turns death into a transformation and a return to life through nature.

Saturday, December 26, 2015

Artists Ponder Food: Tara Sellios -- Still Life and Marine Life

From the series, Luxuria, 2013

Sellios' artist statement: I strive to create images that elegantly articulate the totality of existence, focusing heavily on the broad themes of life and death, with further emphasis placed on ideas of fragility, impermanence and carnality. 

Artists Ponder Food: James Ostrer's Tribal Decorations

James Ostrer’s Wotsit All About makes use of junk food as adornment - tribal, frightfully hilarious.

Pacific Midwest 2.0 Exhibition - INOVA Gallery Features the Milwaukee, Milwaukie Museum

Pacific Midwest 2.0 exhibits the various working methods of 17 photographic artists from Portland, OR and Milwaukee, WI. Similar in size, population, and cultural diversity, Portland and Milwaukee boast vibrant and growing internationally recognized photographic communities while simultaneously fending off their “second city” status to more robust neighboring art markets. Originally exhibited in 2013 at the Newspace Center for Photography in Portland, Pacific Midwest highlighted that Milwaukee, a traditionally smaller art city, offers a climate for the congregation of artists working in a multitude of conceptual and aesthetic strategies to foster a dynamic and integrated community. In this next iteration of the show, Milwaukee welcomes Portland into the fold in order to seek further connection with a photographic community, 2060 miles away, which shares a common multitudinous experience.

In addition to each artist’s individual contribution to the show, Pacific Midwest 2.0 will feature the Milwaukee, Milwaukie Museum, an experimental collaborative experience initiated by the Milwaukee Comma photography collective. Portland artists were invited to respond to their experience visiting the local historical society of Milwaukie, OR, while Milwaukee artists made a response to artifacts witnessed in the Milwaukee Historical Society.  This new museum weaves together the various results from the call to respond, seeking further connection between the artists in the show, as well as investigating where overlap can occur between two geographies that share a common name, but are located thousands of miles apart.
Barbara Ciurej, "Residential Birds of Milwaukee County," Sound Installation

After-Opening Party at our studio with exhibitors from Milwaukee, WI
L to R, Barbara Ciurej, Hon Horvath, Mark Brautigam, Tara Bogart, Kevin Miyazaki, Lindsay Lochman, Naomi Shertsy
Lindsay Lochman, "First White Boy," Christening Gowns and Documents

Wednesday, December 23, 2015

Pacific Midwest 2.0 Exhibition - INOVA Gallery

In addition to showing selections from Processed Views: Surveying the Industrial Landscape, we had the  opportunity to exhibit two Carleton Watkins prints that inspired some of our views. We are grateful to the American Geographical Society Library, housed in the University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee's Golda Maier Library, which loaned the prints for the duration of the exhibition. 
Yosemite Falls, 1867, Carleton Watkins

Sugar Loaf, Farrallon Islands, l867, Carleton Watkins

AGS Western Photograph Collection – This collection consists of albumen prints and stereoscopicslides by the photographers of the four great western surveys. These works include: 64 prints by William Henry Jackson, photographer with the Hayden survey, of Yellowstone, the Rocky Mountains of Colorado, and the Moqui Indian Pueblos of Arizona; 6 prints of the Grand Canyon region by John K. Hillers, photographer with the Powell survey; 49 prints and stereoscopic slides by William Bell, photographer with the Wheeler survey; and 441 prints and stereoscopic slides by Timothy O’Sullivan, photographer with the King and Wheeler surveys. Also included in this collection are 54 mammoth size prints of Yosemite by Eadweard J. Muybridge and 76 prints by Carleton E. Watkins.

Tuesday, December 15, 2015

Publications 2015 - Processed Views

February 2015

Feed a Different Imagination

A selection of photographic projects, each of which offers a special contribution into the relevant discussion of feeding the world. The works were chosen through juried competition organized on the occasion of the Universal Exhibition of Milan EXPO 2015, Feeding the Planet, Energy for Life.
editor Steve Bisson
Grafiche del’Artiere
ISBN 978 88 87569 63 6
















June 26- August 8, 2015 

Pacific Midwest 2.0 Exhibition Catalogue

Including the Milwaukee, Milwaukie Museum 
INOVA Gallery, Milwaukee WI
organized by the collective Milwaukee Comma 
in conjunction with Sarah Krajewski, Curator

August 2015


An Ekphrastic Exhibition Catalogue

Curated by Robert Tomlinson 
An exhibition featuring 15 black and white photographs of women by 15* artists,
and accompanying poems by 15 different poets in response
to each image, creating a distinct dialogue between the portrait and poem.
The entire autumn issue of Picture Sentence will be dedicated to the exhibit, 
documenting the entire show. The show will run at WOU for 4 weeks, opening
in late September, 2015.
Train Bell Press

December 2015 

Creative Photography: 

Strategies of Creativity in Photography 

Edited by Lutz Lungershausen 
ISBN  978 3 8266 9650 3
MITP Press - Verlags GmbH & Co.

Wednesday, November 25, 2015

Enhanced Varieties: Seduction in the Land of Plenty

After months of translating images into industrial food landscapes, we developed a growing intimacy with Carleton Watkins' work.  His 1889 Lake George Cling Peaches photograph, in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art and Huntington Library, appeared in a dream to Barbara in all the colors of the rainbow. This was the birth and inspiration for Enhanced Varieties.

Enhanced Varieties: Seduction in the Land of Plenty 
Enhanced Varieties is a suite of Jell-O® -toned silver gelatin prints reproducing Carleton Watkins’ 1889 photograph, Lake George Cling Peaches.
In the 1880s, land barons began advertising to easterners, encouraging them to invest and settle southern Californian. Carleton Watkins, renown for capturing the sublime in nature, was hired to depict the irresistible economic opportunities of the region. Despite a desert climate heavily dependent on irrigation, Kern County, California, was marketed as a land of inexhaustible agricultural potential. Watkins’ photograph of a crate of peaches is most emblematic, illustrating lushness beyond measure while overlooking the true costs of cultivation where water is scarce.
We all know the success of this characteristically American marketing scheme. With the help of agricultural technology, farmers flocked to this region to grow a new reality — America’s fruit basket. Today we have come to expect limitless plenty and limitless choices. We offer you Watkins’ Peaches as an icon of the triumph of the technological improvement of nature, engineered and marketed to keep us expecting more. 

Appropriating this iconic image, we chose to tone silver gelatin copy prints in twenty of the most popular Jell-O flavors our current technology is capable of seducing us with:

Berry Blue       
Island Pineapple       
Black Cherry  
Fruit Punch  
Cherry Lemonade     
Blackberry Fusion    
Tropical Fusion

Tuesday, November 24, 2015

Artists Ponder Food: Song Dong

Beijing-based artist Song Dong (b. 1966) explores notions of impermanence and the transience of human endeavor. 
Waste Not

"Finally, in 2005, Mr. Song proposed that they turn the accumulated junk into an art project. In this way, he argued, nothing would be discarded and lost; everything would be meaningfully recycled and preserved. His mother agreed to this and they emptied the premises. Then, in an exhibition space in Beijing, they sorted its contents into the kinds of meticulous piles and groupings seen at MoMA: stacks of neatly folded shirts, clusters of bottles and cans, groupings of stuffed animals and so forth, arranged in and around a dismantled section of the original wood house. As a finishing touch, Mr. Song created a neon sign reading, 'Dad, don't worry, Mum and we are fine,' and hung it over the installation." Credit: Todd Heisler/The New York Times

Artists Ponder Food: Juergen Tellers

For the cookbook Eating at Hotel Il Pellicano, Teller photographed the creations dreamt up in the retreat’s kitchen by chef Antonio Guida, who won the restaurant two Michelin stars during his time there.
Food No.15, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010

Food No.113, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010

Captured in Teller’s recognizably edgy and impish aesthetic, Guida’s recipes emerge as whimsical fantasies bordering precariously on the hedonistic, meticulously crafted artworks to be consumed in the passion of a moment, to be vanished but unforgotten.
Food No.102, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010

Food No.18, Hotel Il Pellicano 2010

Artists Ponder Food: Jennifer Rubell

Jennifer Rubell creates participatory artwork that is a hybrid of performance art, installation, sculpture, and happenings. The pieces are often staggering in scale and sensually arresting, employing a wide range of media, both durable and ephemeral.

Old Fashioned (2010)

The title, Old-Fashioned, both identifies the variety of donut hanging on the wall (the most basic and elemental in Dunkin’ Donuts’ lineup), and raises the question of what "old-fashioned" might mean in a contemporary-art context. As viewers enter the courtyard, they are faced with an 8-foot by 60-foot freestanding wall. The front of the wall is pristine, with 1,521 donuts hung in a grid formation at perfect 6-inch intervals.

Tuesday, November 17, 2015

LensCulture Earth15 Awards

We are honored to be a finalist in the LensCulture Earth15 Awards among such fine work. "The level of thoughtful approaches to communicating very complex ideas about conservation, climate change and the impact of human consumption on this planet was extremely impressive—not to mention the simple stunning beauty of many of the images.” —Molly Roberts, juror

— Molly Roberts, Juror

Expo2015 Milano: Feeding the Planet

We only wished this had come true as part of Expo2015, an international expo about food in Milan. We received a proposal from Positivo Diretto, an exhibition firm in Lecce, Italy, who wanted to use our images as 2.5m high totems to line the route through Lecce, the city hosting the delegates of Expo2015 in May. Unfortunately, they could not get needed permissions so we had to content ourselves with a feature on the Feed a Different Imagination Expo campaign site. Hoping for Expo2020 in Dubai!

Tiny Tiny Group Show

The Cola Sea from Processed Views was included in Tiny Tiny Group Show's UNREAL.  Thanks Kevin Miyazaki!