As winter looms ahead, Culturehall presents images that reflect the psychology of the season.
Mark Burnette's photograph of a horse painting in a storefront window in Pulaski, Virginia speaks quietly of romantic longing and nostalgia. The dark and regal horse is contained by a tawdry picture-frame resting alone beneath sunlit glass dusted with fake snow. The reflection of the street in the window merges the everyday of the present with the grandeur of America's past. Like most of Burnette's photos, this image is imbued with a love for things timeworn and specific to the small towns of his geographical region.
Jessica M. Kaufman's recent project, Seep, explores a catastrophic oil spill that occurred in a body of water in Greenpoint and Newtown Creek between Brooklyn and Queens, NY and contaminated a neighborhood of big industry and mostly Polish immigrants who began colonizing the area about a century ago. Instead of documenting the impact of the disaster like a reporter, she has created a highly subjective and atmospheric portrait of the area with its sense of history and decay. Shot on a positive/negative Polaroid film that she allows to deteriorate before she makes her prints, Kaufman's photographs possess an enigmatic timelessness. Her untitled image of a Brooklyn stoop carefully decorated with bouquets of flowers and an American flag suggests the vulnerability of our homes and neighborhoods to natural and manmade forces. It looks much like an old snapshot from a family album weathered by decades of chemical erosion.
Photographer Mickey Kerr also shot Brooklyn neighborhoods - his, at night buried in snow - as well as suburban streets and residences in his hometown of Kansas City, Missouri. His series, Sights and Sounds, examines the mysterious and seductive nature of nighttime light in depopulated settings. Made with long exposures on large-format film, Kerr's photographs capture a haunting stillness and absence. With sharp detail and dark shadows, these images seem to both reveal and conceal lurking stories and secrets.
Canadian artist, Jeff Otto O'Brien, recently contributed a portfolio of his work including selections from his series of photographs, Cache Creek, which beautifully depict a stark and dramatic winter landscape. Surrounded by snow-covered mountains spiked with evergreen trees, Cache Creek is home to the Tumbleweed Motel, a diner, tract houses, some industry and rusted automobiles. One gets the sense those cars might not start - the air is fiercely cold and crisp - and the warmest place is a lonely motel room with a flickering blue TV screen.
Tema Stauffer is a photographer based in Brooklyn and a curator for Culturehall. She graduated from Oberlin College in 1995 and received a MFA in Photography from the University of Illinois at Chicago in 1998. She participated in seven group shows and a solo exhibition, American Stills, at Jen Bekman Gallery. Her work is currently represented by Daniel Cooney Fine Art Gallery in New York, and she teaches photography courses at William Paterson University and the School of the International Center of Photography. She also writes a blog about photography, PalmAire.