Monday, May 12, 2008

Spirit Pictures

For those who have been following this blog from the beginning, you may remember a post about Katherine Wolkoff and her silhouette portraits. Katherine has made a practice of alternating between pictures of people and landscapes but what connects them is always the specific physicality of the person or place and the technical virtuosity of the prints.

Katherine’s latest series are photographs of deer beds, and they are both subtle and stunning. (Deer sleep in beds of deep vegetation they press down with their bodies in order to hide from predators. They never lay down in the same bed twice, but the imprints can remain for several days.) What we see in the photographs are swirls of trampled grass, wild flowers, and a shadow outlining the hidden impression of the deer’s body. What we feel is the animal’s spirit, if not something deeper.

I spoke to Katherine for some background on the pictures and she explained that she had made the work on Block Island, following deer trails in the fields until she found the beds. It was an incredibly emotional experience. She chose to make the prints 40 by 50 inches - close to life size - so that the viewer can enter the space more easily and ponder the connection between what is there and what is not.

A number of the photographs can be seen for the first time in the Chisel exhibit curated by Kathy Ryan - part of the forthcoming New York Photo Festival which opens tomorrow.

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