The perceptions and inspirations of a southern artist. | See more on Tumblr
› Mon, 14 Aug 2017
R I C H A R D S E R R A a r t i s t
serra’s works on paper formed of shaped pigment blocks of a wax-like grease crayon are subtle and calculated much like his monumental rusted steel installations.
› Mon, 14 Aug 2017
untitled tantric painting
› Fri, 11 Aug 2017
jen ervin / twins, june 2017, polaroid print from the series “the arc of summer”
› Sat, 05 Aug 2017
› Fri, 04 Aug 2017
jen ervin / untitled, spring 2017, polaroid print from the series “the arc of summer”
coming face to face with this magnificent tree left me speechless. it’s massive, strange and commanding of one’s presence. my first encounter with it was a year ago during an aimless paddle in a nearby cypress swamp. this spring, i hunted for it again and finally found it.
› Fri, 04 Aug 2017
jen ervin / untitled, june 2017, polaroid print from the series “the arc of summer”
› Thu, 03 Aug 2017
› Mon, 31 Jul 2017
“When you hit a wall – of your own imagined limitations – just kick it in.”— Sam Shepard
› Sat, 29 Jul 2017
Really psyched to have Invisible featured on Lenscratch today!
› Sat, 29 Jul 2017
1. Where are you from and where are you living right now?
I am a non-native southerner. I was born in northern New Jersey and moved to south in my formative years. After college I briefly lived in Colorado followed by a much longer residency in Boston, Massachusetts. I currently live on an island within the city limits of Charleston, South Carolina.
2. Does the place you live in affect your art and practice?
I was initially inclined to reply “yes”; but, after reflecting on the work I have created over these years, with respect to the urban and rural places I have lived, my creative work is consistently made in response to life. My best work seems to spring from my deep need for restoration, my desire for solitude, and quest for meaning.
3. How does being a female photographer influence your work? Do you encounter any challenges in your practice related to that?
My art practice is not directly focused on my gender or rooted in women’s issues. However, I do not deny that my gender may inform my work subconsciously, as it undoubtedly plays a role in shaping both my identity and my experiences. I find that labeling work “female” or “feminine” (in any field) can present the effects of a double edge sword. It can be viewed positively or negatively depending on the context of the situation. Our perceptions play a significant role in the defining of these terms. I simply see myself as an artist expressing my humanity. I believe there are both masculine and feminine aspects displayed in my work.
While I have not encountered challenges of my studio practice in regards to my gender, on rare occasions I have personally experienced sexism when presenting my work in commercial settings. I have also received many comments on the portraits of my three daughters regarding the fact they are not smiling. Some viewers see these portraits as representative of power and confidence, while others have expressed to me that they find them to be uncomfortable, even confrontational. It raises the questions: are they responding this way because the subjects are female? Is it because I, the photographer, am a woman? I cannot say for sure, but I have not noticed the same conflicting responses towards the work of my colleagues who photograph their sons displaying emotional intensity without smiling.
At the end of the day, I try not to place too much emphasis on these details. Instead, I acknowledge them, and move on – I continue to do my best at remaining curious about viewer’s perceptions without allowing them to directly impact my creative process.
4. Do you want to share something about your body of work? What are you working on right now?
My most recent project, “The Arc of Summer”, is a collection of Polaroid prints that I began in 2012. It currently remains in progress, but is nearing its end. I anticipate it will be completed by the end of August 2017. The project aims to celebrate the ethereal world of childhood, the waxing and waning of summer, and the wild desire to remain in its embrace.
“The Arc of Summer” began after I spontaneously bought a Polaroid Land 100 on eBay. At the time I had no initial project expectations, but decided to bring it along on our family adventures planned at our historic cabin set deep in the woods of South Carolina. The cabin itself was built over 70 years ago and rests in a hauntingly beautiful landscape that has managed to escape modernization for centuries.
There is a certain level and quality of intimacy I am looking for in creating my images. Very quickly, I discovered Polaroid would help me achieve this goal. Ultimately, I chose to use it as medium for this project because each Polaroid print immediately becomes an object of experience. Polaroids are very much alive. They’re magical, unique, vulnerable, and on many levels representative of the human condition. The more I used it, the more I became delightfully surprised by the outcomes it produced. Despite their smallness, they may contain the uncontainable.
At first glance, my work may appear deceptively simple when in fact each image is layered in the complexity of subtle details and historic references. Over time, I noticed I was intuitively building a story that not only traces time through the seasons, but through intentional studies of repetition revealed a new passion for filmmaking. When presented in linear form you can visually see an oscillation between the familiar (more documentary style) and a strange, otherworldliness. Overall, these small, atmospheric images revere the transitory aspects of life while savoring moments of a deep resonating silence.
5. How do you get inspiration? Who do you admire?
Bob Dylan once said, “Inspiration cannot be willed, only welcomed”. For me, these words ring true. Inspiration finds me in the strangest of places, at the most unsuspecting times. Often it appears through the door of irreverence – when my guard is down, when I am relaxed, open, sleep-deprived or quietly enveloped by nature.
I draw inspiration from a variety of resources such as music, Eastern philosophy, poetry, and nature. Before finding my voice in photography I studied painting and music. I am particularly drawn to interdisciplinary artists – fascinated by the way an artist’s vision and language translates and expands through the experimentation of various mediums. Artists I admire include: Patti Smith, Bob Dylan, Agnes Martin, Cy Twombly, Emmet Gowin, Robert Frank, Jack Keroauc and the entire Beat generation, Kiki Smith and Louise Bourgeois.
6. Do you shoot mostly color or black and white? Why?
For the last five years, my photographic practice has concentrated on the use of black and white film. I am enamored by its versatility – by its ability to express a broad visual language from the poetic to the banal.
At the moment, I am exploring a curious, new attraction to color film.
Follow her work here: http://www.jenervin.com/
All images and texts are protected by Copyright and belong to the Artist.