Phebe Schmidt Photography
In the hands of photographer Phebe Schmidt, everyday objects are set against backdrops that make one do a double take. With a refined and polished style, she highlights ideas of consumerism and stylized beauty through the recontextualization of mundane props as well as the exploration of "plasticity", or the ability of an object to shapeshift with its environment. The resulting works feel curious, having an effect similar to staring at something for so long that it begins to feel unreal by nature, its fine details becoming confusions within the mass of its existence. "My aim is to draw the viewer in with bright cheesy colours and curious props; on second glance, they realise that something is not quite right -- floating razors or a melting block of cheese often placed together with a profiled product," explains Schmidt, who gathers a number of props specific to each shoot, chosen both for their aesthetic and conceptual values.
Phebe Schmidt Photography
Forward-thinking and striking to behold, Danish design is known around the world for its clean lines, simple shapes, and its refined attention to experimentation. With such ideas naturally engrained into the cultural identity of the country, it seems only natural that photographers like Denmark's Torkil Gudnason, now a transplant to New York City, would extend such aesthetic qualities into his portrait and still life photography, which explores the many contours and colors of human and floral forms."America is an artistic playground for the world," says Gudnason, who relocated to the United States in 1978 and describes the Danish style as "very ascetic and minimal". In his photography, Gudnason loosens his grip on that style by turning a colorful eye away from the dark Scandinavian winters but never quite forgetting about them. "When I came here, everything was new, but somehow [I found] déjà vu through various media. My work is still quite minimal, even in the more complex images. It's more a way of reduction than addition."
From Gudnason's Body Vase Series, which is inspired by "The need to work on a form that gives birth to the continuation of mankind. A fascination of how close the feminine body is to nature."
Like a subtle play off its name, dichotomies are rich within True False, a series of photographic works by Brooklyn-based artist Brian Vu. It's a confusing series, to be sure; first glances and even repeat glances make one question why each of its individual images are indeed a part of the larger series, for the unifying thread is indistinct and absolutely evasive. While some symbols reemerge and some photographs find similar compositional articulations, the common denominator between each and every image is vague -- a shared quality that sits on the end of your tongue, eternally waiting for the right descriptors. The images in True False seem to lie in an unspoken state of being and unbeing: human subjects and body parts exist in somewhat impersonal states, often unidentifiable; and on the opposite end lie still lifes that feel so freshly composed that one can almost see the lingering human touch...
Brian Vu Artist InterviewBrian Vu Artist Interview
"I usually have some sort of idea in mind. I have needs for things I want to photograph, so I have to make it happen. The worst part of that is that it usually works like 25% of the time. It's all about the accidents that happen once you're actually shooting with a camera. It's all so exciting when you get a photo you can be proud of. It's a thrill that I'm addicted to." - Brian Vu, on his creative process