Friday, December 23, 2011

mystery, magic, and then loss.

I had my first "I love having my studio in my house" moment last night. One of the many changes we made when we moved to our new house was get rid of cable- so we essentially have the basic, basic, basic channels. This was mainly done to curb my addiction to terrible Bravo reality shows and the desire and drool that occurs from watching HGTV. So anyway... I was in the mood for some tv and there was nothing on and I saw a show called The Woodmans, I thought hmm what could that be a documentary on "woods men?" So I switched to the channel and to my delight it was a documentary on the family and the life of the incredibly magical photographer Francesca Woodman.

If you do not know Francesca's work she made incredibly beautiful, surreal, and evocative images, mostly self portraits. I always felt that they were investigations of identity. But in truth it is somewhat unknown. She was working in the early 80's but her work still looks completely fresh and contemporary today.

If you look at much of today's fashion photographers or many photo majors work you can see that her work has permeated the photographic mind. Sadly she took her own life and all we are left with is her images.

This was written about her work:
These are psychological portraits: not the visual records of daily existence but episodes in which the expressive capability of the artist's imagination is intertwined with the richness and intimacy of her own life. Yes, we know, it takes a great effort to become an angel, and yet her pictures are still fluttering somewhere around our minds.

But in watching this documentary I of course started to think about my own work and when I turned the t.v off. I sat in my studio, looked around, touched things, rifled through some old drawings, some current photographs, wrote myself a note, and went to bed way too late. But I felt so lucky that after seeing the work of this amazing and unusual artist I got to walk right into my own studio and reflect.

Sorry to have written about 2 photographer in a row but obviously this is what my mind is open to this week and for all of us sometimes it is good to look at something different and out of our pattern. See more of Francesca's haunting and moving work here. You can see her work in person at the SFMOMA.


Sonya Philip said...

I'll have to go and see the show, I went to the SFMOMA with my husband earlier in the month and he saw it, while I went to another exhibit. A few days after I read an article about her and an interview with the curator, about how her suicide is inextricably tied with her work, I think they mentioned the documentary as well.

Joetta M. said...

yes, well her family and some friends do not feel they are as linked as some curators and art writers do. I am unsure myself the work is obviously made by a sensitive and conflicted soul which makes one more susceptible to things but most of the work we know was made a little bit prior to her suicide and she was not making work when she died. She also had had some very recent heart breaks of sorts. So it is always interesting to think in a situation like this what is myth and what it truth. Either way the work is so beautiful and intelligent. Worth the look for sure.:)))