Dissonance, Coincidence & Errant Gradations of Light "altered Photography" was showing last month at the Elizabeth Leach Gallery.
It was one of those Saturday mornings where it was difficult to leave the house but I am so glad I made it to Russel's artist talk.
He has quite the affinity for the written word (which may be apparent by the title of the show). Because of this he has an elegant way of describing his work and navigating the world of making with both frailty and bravery. He is all ready well know in the art world having work bought for museum collections and exhibiting solo around the world.
It was one of those art meeting where I felt like our work and approach was so similar I was wrapped and highly engaged, sensing that I all ready understood intrinsically what he meant (however more elegant he was at expressing it) yet different enough that I clearly had so much to learn.
Christopher Russell created his work in a kind of balancing act between writing (by making large handmade image based books and act of child like story telling for every show) and altered photography (in which he diligently folds and scratches ornate designs into a pigment print). These are such different processes but he needs both in order to creatively feel satisfied.
What drew me to his work is the use these baroque or ornate designs. I myself use damask patterns to accent my paintings of nature. For me it is a layer that goes beyond aesthetics (all thought beautiful). I have always had a difficult time expressing what moves me to use these reoccurring motifs. Russell summed up his usage of motifs as: "everyday affirmations of something special, each motif is a like a portrait of an individual and it is important to think about these designs as an expression of who we want to be a way to glorify our status, beauty and uniqueness."