Cathy Breslaw's Installation

Cathy Breslaw's Installation
Cathy Breslaw's Installation:Dreamscape

Saturday, March 14, 2015

7 Billion Others Video Project at Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

7 Billion Others

A Good Planet Foundation Project, Video Exhibition by Yann Arthus-Bertrand
Exhibition at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
February 21 – September 13, 2015

Article by Cathy Breslaw

The 7 Billion Others video exhibition now on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts was the brain-child of Yann Arthus-Bertrand, president of the Good Planet Foundation. This exhibition and its premier showing in the United States will help audiences discover the humanist message of  the inter-connectedness of all of us on this planet. The project provides an immersive video experience using interviews – with thematic updates occurring  throughout its installation to continually engage viewers during its 30 week run. The project began in 2003, as authors Sybille d’Orgeval and Baptiste Rouget-Luchaire traveled with a team of reporters visiting 84 countries recording the voices of men and women. Young and old, and rich and poor speak in more than 50 languages, and represent many ethnicities, professions, religions and social backgrounds. People present answers to  questions in a touching and honest way and with a generosity of spirit that is quintessentially human. Organizers posed 45 questions to more than 6,000 interviewees that span their thoughts on life, death, politics, music, climate change, love, marriage, friendship, forgiveness, anger, fear, joy and more. The exhibition opens with a 42 foot long video mosaic of a multitude of faces, eyes, expressions and smiles, reflecting their view of the world. There is also a film “Making Of” which documents the ‘behind the scenes’  filming from the other side of the camera. The exhibition ends with interviewees answering the question, “What message would you like to address to the inhabitants on this planet?” There is also free internet access with computers that visitors can use to contribute their testimonies on the project’s website. 7 Billion Others will travel to 16 separate locations around the globe during its exhibition run.

Model and Muse: Photographs by Hendrik Kerstens at the Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego

Museum of Photographic Arts, San Diego
Model and Muse:  photographs by Hendrik Kerstens
February 7 – through May 31, 2015

Article by Cathy Breslaw
  Flange    2009         Pigment Print   Collection of the Museum of Photographic Arts, Gift of Gail and Ralph Bryan

Since 1995, Dutch photographer Hendrik Kerstens has been photographing his daughter, Paula. Kerstens’s approach is a mix of painting and photography, borrowing traditional dark background poses, the careful handling of light, and the subtle treatment of skin from the masters of 15th century Dutch portraiture. He blends them together with accessories including a bubble wrap headdress, a plastic shopping bag cap, cloth napkin and towel hats,  a carefully arranged aluminum foil head-cover, and a collection of doilies stacked around Paula’s neck mimicking ‘old world’ starched collars. Reminiscent of a Johannes Vermeer portrait like the famous “Girl With A Pearl Earring”, Kerstens’s work plays with a dialogue between photography and early Dutch painting. His work is ‘painterly’ in its sensibility and there is a certain air of humor in the costume-like combinations of hats and caps he creates for Paula’s head in each image. Bordering on the ridiculous, the accessories he uses complement the photos of Paula so much so that viewers don’t immediately see them but are drawn more readily to the dead-pan expressions on Paula’s face. These images are also a serious effort of a father’s desire to document his child’s growth over time, and to maintain those memories in the form of formal photographs. This series of large-format unframed pigment prints express the ‘Dutch Light’ of Dutch Master paintings. They are at once classically beautiful and at the same time cast with an unexpected misplaced absurdity, giving Kerstens’s images an excitement and contemporary context.

Environmental Concerns Fuel Jeff Irwin's Sculpture Exhibition: The Nature of Trophies at RB Stevenson Gallery La Jolla CA

Jeff Irwin
“The Nature of Trophies”
RB Stevenson Gallery, La Jolla CA
March 14-May 2, 2015
Article by Cathy Breslaw
Jeff Irwin       “Dogwood Teapot”      earthenware,glaze    13” x 14” x 8”    

It can be said that “context is everything”. In the case of sculptor Jeff Irwin’s  current exhibition, it is most certainly the case. Irwin’s earthenware works are entirely white with a luminescent white glaze, and all the surfaces in the gallery are white including floors, walls, ceiling and display structures. In addition, climbing the stairs leading up to RB Stevenson Gallery adds to the feel of arriving in a hazy, ghost-like ‘heavenly’ space, edging upon the spiritual.  Entering the gallery, the first piece “Jumping Deer” greets you. A deer in active motion is cut in two segments so that the head and front two legs face you, while you have to peek around to other side of the wall to find the other ‘half’ of it’s body. Another adjacent piece, called “Striving”, a pig head holding up a tree branch with its snout, and a cone-like form hanging from it , speaks to one of Irwin’s underlying conceptual ideas. Curiously, though the works are made from clay materials, the pieces are intentionally created to look like wood with all the nubbiness one sees on tree limbs as well as ‘sawed off’ areas in the details of the works. Many different animal images emerge including a pig, dog, deer, cat, coyote, duck, woodpecker, horse, bear, buck and antelope. Though some animal heads hang from the wall like trophies, others appear to speak mostly to environmental concerns. One wall features three horses called “Win” “Place”“Show”, - only the heads and front legs are visible, as if the horses are actively running through the wall to meet the viewer. There is a certain humbleness in the nature of the material and content of Irwin’s work, as well as a clarity of purpose. The hybridization of trees and animals integrated into mostly animal forms reminds us of the connections existing among all living things and nature.