Walker Evans – James R. MellowMay 19, 2022
James R. Mellow
Basic Books; Revised ed. edition (Oct. 11 2001)
Walker Evans is one of the most famous American documentary photographers of the past 100 years and his images will stand for another hundred at least. While every serious photographer is familiar with his work (the best known of which was shot during the 1930’s for the U.S. Farm Security Administration as per the examples below), there have been relatively few books that discuss Evans as a man. James R. Mellow captures his complexities in this eminently readable biography, published in 2001.
What makes particularly interesting reading is Evan’s evolution as an artist, from failed student in the Mid-West US, to failed writer in Paris, to acclaimed photographer on his return to New York in the late 20’s and early 30’s. The book quotes extensively from his letters and other writings. One can almost hear him speaking… I imagine his voice to be a low pitched, slow drawl; a mix of Henry Fonda, Peter Coyote and Alan Rickman (minus the accent).
Evans comes across as dour and fatalistic, yet strangely still likeable. Much of his writing describes his unhappiness with things as they are, whether it be his annoyance with his mother, his dissatisfaction with the quality of the prints made from his negatives or his despondence about his romantic relationships. Many of his friendships with other famous artists are discussed, including Ben Shahn, Steven Crane and Hanns Skolle.
The book offers details about the trips Evans made to do his photography and specifically the trips he made with author James Agee as they worked on the seminal Let Us Now Praise Famous Men. Evans plays the role of aesthete opposite Agee’s sensualist, the collision of which resulted in a book acclaimed for its intimacy and realism… a strong documentary account of the lives of sharecroppers and their families in the American South during the Great Depression.
It is sad but somehow inevitable that Evans ends his days as somewhat of an alcoholic / academic recluse. Mellow’s reliance on Evans’ own words leave you feeling as if you really knew him, that you cared about him, but weren’t overly close to the actual man behind the photographs, because of his determination to keep people at bay.
Walker Evans by James R. Mellow is available from numerous online retailers.
~ Mark WaltonRead More
Cree Tylee – Femme Folks Fest RepostMarch 17, 2022
Cree Tylee ``...now I am rampant with memory....`` The COVERT Collective is pleased to be participating in Femme Folks Fest 2022. Today... Read More
Gabrielle de Montmollin | Weird Baby World – Femme Folks Fest RepostMarch 14, 2022
Gabrielle de Montmollin’s installation Weird Baby World is both engaging and eerie, employing iconography that is evocative and somewhat unsettling. Bart Gazzola offers a response to this street level exhibition, on display at Niagara Artists Centre (NAC) in St. Catharines.Read More
Essay – Ron Hewson – Community GalleriesMarch 1, 2022
I’ve been putting a lot time and effort lately into a community gallery that I belong to. While doing this I’ve put some thought into why I feel it’s worth the effort. Here are some of my reasons to to belong to and participating in this endeavour.
I believe it’s important for local artists to have a place to hang their work. Putting my work on a wall in a public space means I feel that I have created something that is worthy of public display. This matters because the emotional investment in producing art needs that outlet. Showing in a gallery is the reward for the time and money put into our work. I know I would continue to work regardless of belonging to a gallery but knowing that I can share what I have made is incentive to keep working.
Belonging to the gallery means I have to finish things. Every couple months I need new framed finished work to display. As a photographer I can capture a vast number of images. However that really doesn’t mean anything if I don’t finish any of them. Sure I can do some quick editing and post them on Instagram or do some more careful work and post on a stock photo site but that’s not the same as taking the extra steps to print and frame something. The incentive to finish work is a big benefit of belonging to the gallery.
Preparing work for the community gallery on a regular basis is far less stressful that preparing for a major gallery show. I’ve done shows at “big” galleries. The thrill and sense of accomplishment that comes from that kind of show can’t be beat. But the investment in time and money can be overwhelming. Its not something that everyone is prepared to do or is willing to do and for most people its out of reach. The community gallery fills that need perfectly. It gives the opportunity to exhibit that is manageable for artists who want to exhibit without the stress of a solo show.
There are many other reason the gallery is worth my time such as the diversity of the art on display and the camaraderie of follow artists but what makes to gallery valuable to me is the incentive to keep working. I believe that everyone needs some form of incentive and that for me is to have my photography physically present in the world. While posting something online might get seen by lots of people we don’t paint or sculpt or create our art to be seen on a phone.
~ Ron HewsonRead More
Karolina Kuras – Romance, Flight and Fluidity – Femme Folks FestMarch 14, 2022
Karolina Kuras Romance, Flight & Fluidity by Mark Walton ~ Karolina Kuras The COVERT Collective is pleased to be participating in Femme... Read More
Alina Chirila – Femme Folks Fest 2022 RepostMarch 13, 2022
Alina Chirila is an experimenter. Never one to follow a rule book, she will learn the fundamentals of a process and then play with ingredients, timings and formulas until she gets exactly what she wants.Read More
Kary Janousek – Connecting to HistoryMarch 11, 2022
Kary Janousek Connecting to History Wind - Kary Janousek Kary Janousek is a prairie transplant. She found herself living in Fargo,... Read More
I Say Tomato… Femme Folks Fest 2022 RepostMarch 10, 2022
“They took it down and it said, you violated our community standards on nudity and sex… I objected and I clicked the “This is not what it seems” option or “not what you think it is” or whatever it was. They reinstated (the post) and they sent me a notice of reinstatement with a little thumbnail of the damn tomato… which I took a screenshot of and posted to say I’ve been reinstated… and they banned me again.”
Ruth Dick is a prolific photographer from Ottawa. She was one of our very first featured artists here at curated. where I wrote:
“Ruth Dick is a master at capturing the solitary. Almost every image she takes focuses intently on a single object, somehow stimulating a desire to engage in self-reflection… Like O’Keefe, Ruth is able to conjure up form and substance in abstract ways that deftly imbue her images with fresh import. A pepper is not a pepper.”
Things are still not quite what they seem. Her racy photographs have recently caused quite a bit of controversy, and have even been meta-banned. I spoke to Ruth about the implications of this in a recent conversation. You can listen to the podcast by clicking here.
More images by Ruth can be enjoyed on her Instagram account @photos_uncurated. ~ Mark WaltonRead More