Browsing the work shown at Art Palm Springs last weekend (Feb 13-17, 2020), I was struck by the blurring of boundaries between painting and photography; between abstraction and representation; and finally, between what is observed and what is remembered. Check out my favorite artists (two painters and two photographers) who I discovered at Art Palm Springs this year.
EK Waller is a fine art photographer based in Los Angelos, California represented by Fabrick Projects at Art Palm Springs. She calls her work “a dreamscape of abstraction,” and presented a series composed and photographed in one exposure in camera. Waller says this series “entertains the notion of a visual fusion of places. The images are fantastical ruminations, dreamlike and suggestive.” I think the effect is reminiscent of painting; I feel like I am peering into someone’s imagination, rather catching a glimpse of a moment in time.
Gina Minichino is a very accomplished realistic painter who works in the tradition of Wayne Thiebaud. Minichino documents iconic American foods, particularly packaged treats, that she associates with moments of happiness and comfort from her youth. She writes, “My works tend to have a quiet contemplative look. My desire is for the viewer to look closely at these objects and possibly see them with a new appreciation, and to preserve the art and design of these iconic products from the time I live in.”
Lisa Golightly, an Oregon-based artist living in Portland, Oregon represented by George Billis Gallery. Originally a photographer, Golightly is now a painter who uses found photography. Her work “revolves around memory and how snapshots shape, influence, change and even create a memory.”
Nostalgia is an aesthetic form of memory, and our relation to our nostalgic memories is much like that of a painter to a work of art.Hal McDonald, PhD.
Golightly’s paintings are about the role of photography in shaping our sense of the past. Pink Shore is an example of Golightly’s figurative work, based on snapshots of families relaxing and children playing at the beach, the pool, a park, or in the backyard–documenting family celebrations, holidays and summer Sundays. Golightly’s slightly abstracted figures help us fondly reimagine the past, perhaps our own past, as simple, connected, leisurely and carefree. Some of the source photos are awkwardly composed, reminding us of the less than perfect photos that used to come back from the drugstore, that might now be lost to the delete button, creating a sense of nostalgia for less self-conscious, and perhaps more authentic times.
Natalie Christensen is a fine art photographer based in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Christensen creates clean, spare images in the urban and suburban landscape, often with an eye to abstracting them into color fields and geometry. Christensen was formerly a psychotherapist, and more recently her work reflects an interest in psychological metaphors. She says, “For me, the symbols and spaces speak to a part of the self that is just below the conscious mind, asking to be understood, even integrated.” Christensen’s images are truly beautiful and create a sense of serene of reflection. I especially like the photo above, in that she captures so many shades of blue in a way that is almost painterly.