Sarah Palmer was born in San Francisco, and lives in Brooklyn. She received her MFA in Photography, Video and Related Media from School of Visual Arts in 2008, where she was awarded an Aaron Siskind Scholarship, and her BA from Vassar College in 1999. Her work has been exhibited in the US and in Europe, at the Center for Photography at Woodstock, in satellite exhibitions at the New York Photo Festival in 2009 and 2011, and at Foam_fotografiemuseum, Amsterdam, among others. Her photographs and writing have been published in print and online journals and exhibition catalogs. She was awarded the 2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize2011 Aperture Portfolio Prize in spring 2012 and has had solo exhibitions at the Wild Project, in 2010, and at Aperture Gallery in fall 2012. She is on the full-time photography faculty at Parsons The New School for Design and the Board of Directors of Rooftop Films.
I recently reviewed portfolios of photographic educators at the SPE National Conference in San Francisco. This week I am featuring some of the terrific work I got a chance to see….
Marie-José Durquet is a photographic educator, but she also educates through her unique photographs. I was enchanted by her series, Almost Gone, that are in part performance art, sculpture, and photography. The series is a form of public art, bringing awareness to endangered species. She creates fragile outlines of different species out of string and glues them into a public environment, allowing time and tread to eventually remove the object…which is exactly what happens to the species in real life.
Originally from the Basque country, Marie-Jose has worked as a teacher and artist in many parts of the World: in African diaspora: Guinea-Bissau, Botswana, Puerto Rico, Haiti and the Dominican Republic and has been on the photography faculty at the Maryland Institute College of Art in Baltimore, the San Francisco Art Institute, UC Berkeley and California State University, Hayward. Marie-Jose received her MFA in painting and photography from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and her BA in Art from UC Davis. She currently lives in San Francisco, CA.
Almost Gone: This multimedia project brings together ideas about the ephemeral nature of art and the changing nature of our environment. Using yarn that I glued to concrete, wood and other surfaces found in urban areas, I made drawings that represent endangered plant and animal species. I chose to illustrate the various subjects with simple lines made from white yarn in order to evoke skeletal remains. This delicate material gives a tangible texture to the subject while creating a semi-permanent art piece. The evolution of each image culminates in a color photograph that documents the subject, process and location.
The inspiration for this project has been a life-long interest in environmental issues, which intensified after moving to San Francisco in the late 1990s and seeing the changes that had taken place over 25 years. The increase in development and surge of high tech industries had led to a reduction of open space and pollution of the natural habitats many species depend on. My choice of city structures and concrete as the background for the drawings is a metaphor for this conflict between urbanization and preservation of wildlife.
While the photographs can hang on a gallery wall, people walking throughout the city might also stumble upon the original drawings; they surprise and confront passers-by in a way that is similar to graffiti. My hope is that these images raise questions and invite dialogue while simultaneously injecting an element of beauty onto the harsh surfaces of the “concrete jungle” that many of us call home.
Much of the work that Minneapolis photographer, Erika Ritzel, creates is about what we leave behind, in particular, in our homes and in our classrooms. Her images evoke a nostalgia for what once was, but at the same time, captures personal and public tableaus that are transitory and fleeting. It seems appropriate, in a time of uncertainly and flux, that we hold on the the past, even if for just a few seconds.
Erika grew up in Carbondale, Illinois and now lives in Minneapolis after receiving her BFA from Webster University in St. Louis and her MFA from the Minneapolis College of Art and Design. In 2002, she received a grant from the Illinois Humanities Council to complete a project on the flood of 1993, which destroyed her father’s hometown. In 2008, she received a grant from the Minnesota State Arts Board to continue her study of estate sales and auctions. In 2009 she was selected for the 2nd round of the McKnight Fellowship of Photographers. Her work has been exhibited at the Palm Springs Art Museum in California, the Minnesota Museum of American Art in St. Paul, the Minnesota Center for Photography, and with the Coalition of Photographic Arts in Wisconsin.
Erika currently works as a freelance designer for Robert George Studio in St. Louis, MO and is adjunct photography faculty in Minneapolis at Century College, Inver Hills Community College, and Brown College.
I began this body of work, SOLD, to investigate estate sales, auctions, and the antiquarian objects being sold during the events. I was interested in the new relationships created by the arrangement and display of the objects within the sale. The photographs reveal some details about the previous owners, yet are very mysterious, making their identity even more intriguing. The interior space of the locations is transformed during the sales; rooms are closed off, tags are put on every item, and objects are arranged and collected with their original context unknown. My intent is to reflect the intimate place of the home through the abstracted details of lighting, textures, and patterns contained within the space.
I originally began investigating estate sales and auctions because they remind me of my family. My parents sell antiques and my father attends auctions every week and collects a variety of tools from Winchester and Simmons Hardware companies. He developed his love for tools because his father was a carpenter. I believe it is important to look at objects from the past to remind us of where we came from and the people we have lost.