Wednesday, September 10, 2008

White Diamonds

And the second show of the night...

"Smoke & Mirror" -detail

"Snakes Eyes." Jody Fausett's new show of photography at Whitespace gallery. I had seen snipits of proof prints and digital images here and there as the body of work was shaping up, making me increasingly excited as to what Fausett had up under his sleeve.

"Smoke & Mirror" - detail - 2008

The new show does not disappoint - pushing the content of his photography one step further, Fausset delves deeper into his version of neverland. Using low-fi tricks and his grandmother's as models, the work comes across as something unpretentiously pure, something as real as the imagined gets.

Each time I see Fausett's work I am reminded of what art can be without the artifice, without the MFA manufactured artist's stabs at originality and importance through formulated statements and hollow work. Fausett's images assume nothing and would exist whether or not there was a gallery to show it or a critic to praise it. Fausett is simply creating images he wants to make, which is a surprisingly unusual endeavor.

The large print sizes and placement of the works were well thought out, each relating to the next and adding up to a very focused exploration by Fausett into his unique visual language and sense of fictional reality.

"Peacock" Giclee Print - 2008

Ran into Kirsten Mitchell, aka Kiki Blood, at the opening who leaves in a week for Italy to present a further developed rendition of her Pyramid piece and I may have convinced her to pass along pictures from the show after she returns.

"Bear" Giclee Print - 2008

And in thinking about the show I managed to get hold of Fausett long enough for a short interview about his new work. Here goes:

Jonathan: Jody, hey, your show looked awesome!

Jody: Thanks, I was bummed we didn't get to talk but I didn't really talk to many friends. That's how the night goes I guess.

"Mink & Leather" Giclee Print - 2008

Jonathan: yeah, it's really hard to focus at an opening, too many people coming from every direction. But in thinking about your show I had a couple of questions… For me "Snake Eyes" is a logical evolution from your previous show "Smoke From Another Fire." I feel like the work has grown more complex and personal, which is due in part to the inclusion of more people in the photographs instead of focusing on taxidermied animals. While there is a good deal of posing involved either way, including another person makes it a more collaborative process and by using family members I imagine the photographic process must become much more intimate? What has it been like for you to photograph your grandmothers?

"Mink & Leather" - detail

Jody: I thought the show was going to be heavier on the figurative side and less of the animals, but when I finished it seemed to be about half and half. A lot of changes have occurred since I did that last show so I wanted to do strong and bad ass shots of my grandmothers. It seemed like a good time for the images to be made. Posing is important to me, I can't help it that is how I have always shot. They usually start the position and I come in and tweak it some. The props are there, I use them. My grandmother had the baseball bat by the door and I asked her "well, have you actually held it and felt the weight of it?" I think it is a good experience on both sides.

"Bless This Mess" Giclee Print - 2008

Jonathan: Do you think you work any differently when photographing your family versus unrelated models?

"Contradiction" Giclee Print - 2008

Jody: I tend to be the same in both situations. When you are working with family you talk about personal things. With other people I wouldn’t. As for planning and working in the shoot I am the same. Working on a personal project the flow is a little slower for me. I am by myself.

"Wake Up Alive" Giclee Print - 2008

Jonathan: I think the theatrical posing of your work is part of what makes it so fascinating – it’s a glimpse into your imagination, an alternate universe in a small North Georgia mountain town. And while they are posed, they stay true to the subject by incorporating objects already in the house. Is it disconcerting for you to show these photographs in public? I imagine they result from very intimate moments with your family, a sort of “playing dress-up with grandma” time in their private spheres.

"Open Door" Giclee Print - 2008

Jody: Sometimes it is a little stressful to show people, I leave a lot of room for interpretation of a scenario so that can go in any direction in someone’s mind. I know that all the ideas I shoot with come from a positive place, especially this show. It can be a little dark I guess in appearance and then involving my family added to that can look a certain way, but in general people I have spoken with veer to the positive side.

"Ceiling" Giclee Print - 2008

Jonathan: I definitely see your work as being very positive though I may be biased by knowing you and from what is sounds like your grandmothers get very into the shoot as well. Ok, so last question, what is it do you think that drives you to create these images? What keeps you returning to your hometown to photograph?

"Horse Landing" Giclee Print - 2008

Jody: I have been going home to photograph for quite a while. When I was in New York I would come home for a stint and shoot all week and return with the film and be super excited. Out of everything I did this was the favorite. I enjoy working alone a lot and in these spaces. After the last show and the book I just felt like I wasn’t finished yet. I guess the fleetingness of time had me return and shoot more. I feel like it may be gone at some point, I went past one house I shot a lot in and it was gone, so I wondered if I got what I needed. Hope so.

Also ran into Alex who as sporting a hat doodled by his lovely lady Shana.

"Carport" Giclee Print - 2008

I had difficulty resisting the urge to document every single photograph in the show and give it all way (!), but "Carport" above proved impossible to photograph and considering it was one of my favorites, I guess you'll still have to make your way over to Whitespace to check it out.

Show up until October 11th 2008. Go see the show!

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