Location: Ann Arbor, MI, United States
Adorned examines the cultural desire to idealize the natural world. The veneer of material desire and constructed natural beauty is explored by creating fictional tableaus to speak about a state of disenchantment. By creating scenes that are controlled and composed, the work speaks to a cultural obsession with beauty, perfection, and indulgence. Examining how these material desires are applied to the natural world, the work metaphorically explores this interplay of contrived and natural. By “improving” the natural elements with lighting and photography, the objects – once found in nature – are treated more like commercial goods. The compositions are carefully arranged, and then “sweetened” with candies, syrup and brightly colored products to indulge the senses, further reflecting our elusive attention and admiration in a culture that inevitably desires more. My process draws from a long history of constructed narratives in photography, artist like Oscar Gustave Rejlander and Julia Margret Cameron, were early pioneers in manipulating truth with the medium, while later artists like Gregory Crewdson, Jeff Wall and Anthony Goicolea made the ordinary surreal with their highly choreographed stills. My process aims to simultaneously embrace a manipulation of truth by hyper exaggerating the ordinary and to also work within a kind of truth by utilizing the inherent believability of the photographic medium.
Like the early tableau photographers I draw inspiration from painting, specifically naturalist painting from movements like the Hudson River School. I’m interested in rekindling the romantic notions of nature while simultaneously subverting those romantic notions by juxtaposing pop consumption and visual gluttony.