Winter 2015: Artwork
For our Winter 2015 issue, a number of women contributed explorations of a single concept – be it in subject, form or process. So in conjunction with our featured artist, I
selected three works from three contributing artists to allow our readers a fuller view of their sensibilities as confident mark-makers.
Michelle Latham's bold contour drawings in her "Sibling" series express character in simplicity. Each mark carries a weight. Latham is a printmaker by trade, an identity that shines through in her ink drawings.
Kelly Neidig explores the desolate yet comfortable landscapes of Oregon in paint. She breaks down familiar land and sky into amorphous lines and shapes making for vaguely familiar scenes while allowing Neidig to develop a trademark style.
Erin Leichty uses visceral mediums like plaster and wax to create layers in her mixed-media paintings featuring text and female forms. Her clean compositions create a deceptively safe viewing space that, upon a deeper gaze, reveals both literal and psychological layers.
Brittany Chavez, our featured artist, conversely dares to give minimum information to tell a story in her photographs. Yet, like with all of our winter artists, it is Brittany’s marks – what she has chosen to frame – that carries each piece.
Featured Art by Brittany Chavez
Brittany Chavez may have turned only 23 this year, but she is just as comfortable in a darkroom as behind a digital camera. Chavez received a BFA in photography from Portland's Oregon College of Art and Craft in 2013. The school is known for its hands-on and historical approach to craft, which means Brittany was just as often developing negatives under a red light as blinking at computer screen and toying with editing software during her four years as an undergrad.
The images featured in this issue are a mix of digital and color film, with limited post-production editing. Photographers like Brittany take advantage of the moment by "painting" with the elements they have at their disposal. Exposure times, lighting and compositions are used to craft each shot as it is taken. Brittany has her color film developed by a company in Portland, and then scans the negatives herself using facilities at Newspace Center for Photography in the Southeast quadrant of the city, where she also volunteers. She then tweaks elements like contrast and color-balance digitally to compensate for shifts that can take place when scanning the film.
Brittany’s method of scanning her negatives means she has a collection of hundreds of high definition digital images to pore over, making choosing specific images for the journal a pleasure, though a daunting one.
Shop talk aside, it was the lushness of Brittany’s imagery that won me over. I was drawn to a softness – both literal and metaphorical – in her portfolio. Objects of comfort often appear in her repertoire of images: pillows, bedding, overcast skies and warm lights. A soft focus blurs some hard edges of forms, making them appear to have an inner glow. Her images are intimate without being confrontational. We see hands and knees, a recently-slept-in bed, playful details and purposeful emptiness. While each image has the power to tell a story, groupings of any number of pieces result in new collections of form, color or narrative.
Serendipitously, Brittany is also a writer, making her a fitting steward to the poetry, prose and art of the talented cast of women who make up the 2015 issue. Her images and words can be found on her blog "A Personal Archive" at http://blog.brittanyvchavez.com.
Enjoy a sampling of Brittany Chavez's work in VoiceCatcher's Featured Artist Gallery:
Through the magic of language, 20 poets challenge us to write and live bravely.
Five risk-taking voices burn with the fire of transformation.
Four artists share their diverse sensibilities as confident mark-makers.
With clear eyes and articulate voices, five young women confront terrifying aspects of human experience.
Meet the authors and artists – from first-timers to well-established – who grace our sixth issue with their voices and visions.
LETTER FROM THE MANAGING EDITOR
A Great Wild Goodness by Annie Lighthart
Going South by Christine Gray
a welcome week by Hannah Sams
Ophelia, at Fifty, in a Blue Blow-up Canoe by Deborah Dombrowski
A Passing Music by Barbara LaMorticella
Girl Fishing with Grandpa by Helen Kerner
Perimeter by Amy Schutzer
Two Poets in the Weight Room by Tricia Knoll
Skeletons by Christa Kaainoa
A Poem for Dany by Suzy Harris
Lineage by Amy Schutzer
The Bucket by M.K. Moen
Bernier River by Christine Dupres
Silence by Margie Lee
Advice by Donna Prinzmetal
Sometimes at Night by Jennifer Pratt-Walter
Fissure by Elizabeth Moscoso
Whale by Cathy Cain
In the Modern World by Annie Lightheart
Love poem to an acquaintance by Allegra Heidelinde
Dialogue between Magician and Tattooist by Christine Gray
Under the sign of the water bearer by Jennifer Kemnitz
city spacious heart by Pearl Waldorf
Bless Our Great Nation, Zambia! Zambia! by Gypsy Martin
Liminal by Stephanie Golisch
The Tomorrow Fire by Kelly Coughlin
Ablaze by Heather Durham
Left As It Was, It Would Come Apart by Jackie Shannon-Hollis
Sibling 1 by Michelle Latham
Sibling 2 by Michelle Latham
Sibling 3 by Michelle Latham
Totem by Kelly Neidig
Stratum by Kelly Neidig
Swift by Kelly Neidig
Breaking Free by Erin Leichty
Capture Threads by Erin Leichty
Hardware by Erin Leichty
Visions on the Playground by Meghana Mysore
Chasing Thunder by Berkeley Franklin
Elegy for Christy by Lily Boyd
Social Media by Maya Coseo
A Hundred Acre Wood by Audra McNamee