Wednesday, September 21, 2011

Susan Malmstrom: Pictures within Pictures

Susan Malmstrom has once again, provoked our senses using her evocative style of photography. In her latest series, she guides us through complex layers of imagery that are both haunting and beautiful. Make sure you take a moment to read her artist statement below:     

Artist’s Statement

Since the late 1980s, my work has consisted of still-life photographs, originally using antique processes, such as Vandyke and salted paper printing, invented during the earliest days of photography.  In 2004, my method shifted dramatically, and now employs digital technology.  Although contemporary media present different challenges than those of the 19th century, my work remains faithful to transforming real objects existing in time and space into allegorical imagery exploring personal vs. collective memory.  Moving beyond the idea of literal documentation or objective truth, I attempt to subvert photography’s ability to record the minutia of the everyday world in order to find the realities that exist beneath the surface.

For Pictures Within Pictures, new settings are created for vintage found photographs, using every day objects, frames, and vegetation from my Nova Scotia garden, in order to explore how vintage images can be altered when they are removed from any original context and manipulated into a completely different framework.  What does a photographic image from the 1890s, or the 1940s, say to us now?  Our collective memory  disallows looking at an image without bringing some sense of history (personal or collective) to its narrative.  No matter how elaborate or dense the newly created context may be, the photograph within it still retains a layer of elusiveness, as it cannot escape entirely from its own time encapsulaton.