ARTIST STATEMENT - PHOTOGRAMS
Karen Amy Finkel Fishof
By pushing the boundaries of conventional black and white photography, I produce large scale, life size, one-of-a-kind photograms. The work is thought-provoking, visually compelling and a challenge to norms grounded in integrity.
I stage scenes on photo paper in the darkroom, expose them to light, and then develop them traditionally with black and white chemistry. Photograms provide the medium I need to tell my stories. Through them, I can communicate. I love the creative process of these works, from the exposure to the development. The magic of seeing the image appear when the photo paper is placed in the chemistry, knowing it was a moment captured with no negative, and the anticipation in the darkroom of seeing how various objects live in the light and how light wraps around them, fascinates me. I then capture that living dance on 2D, still, photo paper. Unlike conventional photography, each piece is a one-of-a-kind, like a painting and bears a painterly feel.
I consider the process drawing with light. It gives me the strong imagery and narrative, with hidden subtleties. Each piece is premeditated to a degree with a window left open for spontaneous improvisation. From a pictorial standpoint, compositional organization is paramount.
I start with what interests me, not just ideas, but the relationship between ideas. My work merges socio political content with sculptural, painterly objects in its own reality experience. The pieces are theatrical stills, each with its own story.
I am influenced by all artistic mediums including interior design, film, music, fashion and social media. I've worked in all these areas professionally and draw from their current trends. Inspiration may come from current events, personal experiences or from found objects. Creating photograms allows me to collage these areas together into one cohesive image statement.
Figures are not only in a physical space, but a psychological one as well. The characters are firmly planted in their own surreal, distorted space. All persons and objects serve a double role. Not only are they instruments in imagery, but also declare a statement about the medium itself. We are forced to recognize a new aspect of the person or object touching the surface, the form itself.
There is a presence that remains of the people and objects, sort of like when you see the handprints on the Hollywood "Walk of Fame". You know that the person had physical contact with the paper, unlike conventional photography or portraiture. Not only are the figures actors in a drama, but they are also portraits of the models and reflect their inherent personalities.
The work makes one cognizant of the relationship we have with objects. We almost always have an object in our hands, whether it be a phone, pen, fork, cup, remote control, gun, bible or flowers. We are dependent on them and they define us.
Recent photograms explore contemporary issues of parenting, politics and the intersection of gender and religion, defining my identity, confronting stereotypes and moving between the secular and the sacred. The work engages the viewer to explore the definition of photography as well as examine their pre-existing ideas of the various content.
ARTIST STATEMENT - NFT PORTRAITS
Karen Amy Finkel Fishof
I’m at at a point in my life where I really want to give back. There are so many needy people and so many worthwhile causes that it was hard to decide what to put my efforts behind. I came up with an idea...
I’ve created an #NFT series called #FamousFaces and I’m donating a portion of the proceeds from each piece to a charity that I associate with that person.
I’ve been working on #FamousFaces - a digital collection of NFT portriats while in lockdown. My approach is to bridge the art with the Jewish concept of Maaser, giving a tenth of your earnings to charity. The works are slightly animated, living in the small space between a traditional portrait and a full blown animation. Employing a "close up” of the face, I have integrated the Jewish practice of “looking at the faces of the righteous” with the idea that looking at the faces of those with honorable traits, one will feel a sense of connection and in turn, imbue the onlooker with inspiration to obtain those positive attributes.
The first collection of #FamousFaces (1-10) includes:(1) Notorious RBG - Ruth Bader Ginsburg, (2) Imagine - John Lennon, (3) Dare, The Greta Effect - Greta Thunberg, (4) Dave Stands Up - Dave Chappelle, (5) Let’s Talk About Sex - Dr. Ruth Westheimer, (6) Visionary Elon - Elon Musk, (7) Compassionate Oprah - Oprah Winfrey, (8) Art Takes Action - Ai Weiwei, (9) Girls Just Wanna Have An Education - Malala Yousafzai, (10) Truth, Justice and Nonviolent Resistance - Mahatma Gandhi
ARTIST STATEMENT - MOD WALL ART
Karen Amy Finkel Fishof
It's a funny thing when you're an artist and you finally get a wall large enough to hang one of your own works on. That's what happened to me when my husband and I purchased a house. For two years we sat looking at a blank wall over the sofa. I felt that none of the works I had done prior worked in the space, a space that I had decorated!
After seeking inspiration from various sources, it finally hit me. I had been creating such large scale, delicate art. The photograms require a truck to transport and expensive mounting of the photo paper to Sintra, an archival PVC board and then that gets mounted onto a wooden support frame. Beautiful in their own right, I had always thought of them as museum pieces. For my home (and to please my husband who loves color) I created Mod Wall Art.
At first I designed the entire piece in photoshop and then, working backwards, I hand painted 27 wooden hexagons. That would be the first and last hand painted pieces. My fabricator who has been mounting my photograms came to one of my shows where I was also displaying some hexagons. He told me he could encase them in museum grade acrylic. We worked together to get the fabrication just right and Mod Wall Art was born.
What's great about these pieces is that they can scale horizontally or vertically to fit any wall and still fit in a small space for transport. They look like floating glass. I've created hundreds of designs, incorporating various colors, patterns and themes as well as utilizing photos from nature, sports, music and the like. They can be created for bespoke, site-specific installations in any shape or size.
These works allow me to utilize my "found object" skills, while out and about I stop to capture an image as opposed to the photograms which are premeditated and staged.
The final works are of course carefully curated and the vault of images I have amassed and have at the ready, permits me to collage the best images together to obtain sensational results.
I'm also working on a film! Stay tuned!