Monday, February 2, 2009

Maggie Taylor and Jerry Uelsmann

If you are in dire need of inspiration, let me direct you to two artist that will spark something inside you that can only push you beyond everyday and into a surreal utopia. Just to clarify, Maggie Taylor and Jerry Uelsmann deserve their own separate posts, but since the two are conjoined in marriage and sometimes intertwine the objects/images within their beautiful masterpieces and quite frankly, I can't wait to talk about either, I'm writing them up together.

I'll start with Maggie first glance, her whimsical body of work took my breath away. Not only was I interested in the digital process, but I was already in love with all of the following: old tintypesdaguerreotypes, humans within nature, surrealism and creating mysteriously ambiguous images. Now this was a woman after my creative heart. 
I had the privilege of seeing both lecture at a conference I attended in November of 2007. Simply phenomenal. Both artist were very modest and funny.
Taylor's digital collages are composed of old photographs, scanned objects, images from her 5 megapixel camera, and an occasional borrowed negative from her trusty husband's backlog. (Usually something small like a tree, ladder or a boat.) Her scanned objects range from doll house miniatures to real bees and even dead fish. If she envisions a specific pose, she'll go out into the natural Florida light and shoot herself to get exactly what she needs, again...with the point and shoot.

These first two pieces are my favorites. Taylor gave examples of starter images like the background of the above picture and honestly, it was just an average snapshot of a grassy plain. Goes to show, a little imagination goes a long way.

Now onto Jerry Uelsmann. 
What's astonishing to me about his surreal images are not only his mastered ability to obtain perfect prints, but he composes all his work in the dark room. Nothing is digital. The closest confession of computer use, was the shadow in the image below. He said his wife, Maggie created a shadow in Photoshop, printed it out and then he photographed it. Impressive and admirable to say the least. I found Uelsmann to be quite funny. I read this interview with Jerry Uelsmann that's worth looking into if you like his work. The following is a pieced together excerpt:

"Today there is a lot of conceptually based art that begins with a particular theory and then the individual makes the images to fit. It’s like an assignment, all planned and then they just follow through and do the work.
My creative process begins when I get out with the camera and interact with the world. A camera is truly a license to explore. There are no uninteresting things. There are just uninterested people. For me to walk around the block where I live could take five minutes. But when I have a camera, it could take five hours. You just engage in the world differently. If you can get to a point where you respond emotionally, not intellectually, with your camera there’s a whole world to encounter. There’s a lot of source material once you have the freedom of not having to complete an image at the camera."

Bottom line,  both of their bodies of work will whisper sweet nothings into your inner core. So listen. 
Here's your chance...If you're anywhere near the San Antonio area, please do yourself a favor and go see their lecture "Just Suppose: Jerry Uelsmann and Maggie Taylor" on February 17th at 7pm. Held in the Ruth Taylor Recital Hall at Trinity University.

Images found via random web searches.
Quote via interview