As I previously mentioned, I’m blogging for the São Paulo Photo festival. I wrote this post for them, but figure its worth sharing here as well.
Last night was mayhem out in Chelsea, in a good way. Wine was free flowing, fall fashion outfits were out on display, and it was hard to walk two feet without bumping into someone you knew. Photo blogger Andrew Hetherington was all over the scene, as were curators Amani Olu, Melanie Flood and Leslie Martin, and photographers Will Steacy, Casey Kelbaugh, Amy Elkins , Justine Reyes, Robin Schwartz and Phil Toledano, among many others.
Simen Johan depicts a natural world hovering between reality, fantasy and nightmare. Merging traditional photographic techniques with digital methods, Johan’s images are crafted over time and may include a synthesis of landscapes from various geographical locations and animals photographed in captivity or in the wild.
My photographs serve as modern dioramas of our new natural history. Within these scenes I explore our paradoxical relationship with the “wild” and how our conflicting impulses continue to evolve and alter the behavior of both humans and animals. Within my work I examine the primal issues of comfort and fear, dependence and determination, submission and dominance that play out in the physical and psychological encounters between man and the natural world.
Last stop was the Aperture Gallery, one of my favorite places in Chelsea. Aperture is a nonprofit foundation dedicated to promoting photography, you should become familiar with it if you haven’t yet. There was a group exhibit featuring the new Dutch landscape.
In keeping with the golden age of Dutch landscape painting four hundred years ago, a new visual statement on the landscape has emerged from the Netherlands. Expressed through the modern mediums of photography and video art, this new imagining of the Dutch landscape is urbanized and altered, depicting the Netherlands as the most artificial country in the world.
Artists featured inluded: Hans Aarsman, Wout Berger, Henze Boekhout, Driessens & Verstappen, Marnix Goossens, Arnoud Holleman, Gert Jan Kocken, Jannes Linders, Cary Markerink & Theo Baart, Hans van der Meer, Gábor Ösz, Bas Princen, Xavier Ribas, Gerco de Ruijter, Frank van der Salm, Hans Werlemann, and Edwin Zwakman.
Aperture was a great spot to close the night. Even after the alcohol ran out (gasp!) people stayed around for a while mingling and discussing art.