The photography world is hungry for new approaches to creating imagery as our current photographic environment speaks more to pixels and file sizes. Happily, there is a rebirth of exploring traditional and historical processes and a focus on the photograph as object. Heidi Kirkpatrick is creating three dimensional photographic sculptures after years in the darkroom producing traditional silver gelatin prints, that were, more often than not, tucked away in boxes. In an effort to work in a unique way, her photographs have found new homes and surfaces and they are getting lots of attention. Heidi will be giving a presentation on her work at the Portland Art Museum, as a part of their Brown Bag Lunch Talks, on January 18, 2012 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Her series, Specimens, was recently recognized as one of the Critical Mass Top 50 Portfolios. The image below was selected by Darius Himes for the traveling Critical Mass exhibition.
Specimens: I have had a lot of physical pain and have for many years. In my continual search for an answer, as well as my way of dealing with the unexplained, I dissect my Gray’s Anatomy book. The pages find their way into Specimens, layered under images of those closest to me. The illustrations bind, clothe and wrap the body. Putting the inside on the outside, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Reminiscent of nineteenth century cased images; Specimens are housed in small hinged tins that open and close to reveal or conceal the secrets they hold.
Heidi is a Portland photographer and artist, using found objects to create intimate and personal sculptures. Her work is mysterious, personal, and nostalgic. She explores themes of family, childhood, addiction, and pain. There is a sense of play present, but serious play that makes the viewer consider their own memories and insights. She has a book of her work, Lost and Found, through Blurb. The work below is gleaned from several series.
I am in love with film. All of my work is made with film. I shoot on film. I print on film. I do all of my own work in my darkroom. I like it dripping off my elbows. I do not use a lot of fancy equipment. My “models” are the people who are closest to me, my family and friends. I love layering the film positives over anything and everything I can think of or find. My studio is filled with found objects that inspire me, and photographs, lots and lots of photographs.
I use photographs to transform found objects into playful pieces of art. Fusing transparent figurative and family portraits with children’s toys and blocks, I create a playful tension between imagery and object. My work breathes new life into these found objects, yet they leave hints of the past in their lovingly worn appearances; the flecks of paint missing, and the soft corners worn down by tiny fingers and tumbling towers.
These works depart from the formality of a frame as they are arranged on a table top or a shelf, often stacked or placed side by side to reveal narratives of family snapshots, or the complexities of the feminine allure. In combination, I give you a chance to visit these earlier playful times while drawing on memories, contemporary issues, and visual formality.