Artists in the artwork

In his latest exhibit, Chris Miner brings together the creator and their very own creation

Chris Miner’s new photograph series Artists Statements juxtaposes artists next to their artwork. Artist Su Sheedy poses behind the branches of a tree.
Chris Miner’s new photograph series Artists Statements juxtaposes artists next to their artwork. Artist Su Sheedy poses behind the branches of a tree.

Art galleries house the artwork, not the artists.

Somehow Chris Miner manages to combine both in his new exhibit.

In Artists Statements, Miner provides an intimate look at the artists behind the works through his photograph series.

The Kingston photographer offers the artist statement through his camera lens, scrapping the traditional document used to deliver the audience with notes on the artwork.

The State of Flux Gallery at Modern Fuel was filled with five life-size, sepia photographs, each depicting a local artist juxtaposed with a piece of their artwork.

Having a visual of the artist to accompany their work was strangely intimate. The portraits force the viewer to not only accept the work at face value, but ask questions about the inner ambition of the artist. This was evident in the first photograph I came upon, a portrait of Jane Derby gazing into the eyes of a bust on the table beside her. Above her was a photo of her mixed media piece, “Runes,” which first appeared to be wooden slates, intermingled with clay or mortar.

When I stepped a little closer to inspect Derby’s piece, I noticed the many recycled materials embedded in the clay, such as pop cans, electrical plugs, screws and netting, among other things. This seemed to oddly parallel the portrait, as character traits started to make themselves known through the artwork. While the proximity made me uncomfortable, I felt closer to the artists who were stranger until this point.

This realization became clear as my focus shifted to “Beautiful Bag,” an abstract oil painting on canvas, beside local artist Su Sheedy peering piercingly out from within the branches of a tree. I sensed a disconnect between her woodsy portrait and her synthetically-themed creation, proving that artists can sometimes use art to step outside of themselves.

Miner’s idea to have the artist pose immediately next to their work had a strong impact — allowing the viewer to make the connection between creator and creation.

While hiding behind the trees in her portrait, Sheedy was also hiding from the viewer who’s now familiar to her. Looking at Sheedy’s piece, the initial fear I felt being so intimate with the artists dissipated.

I came to terms with the fact that an individual’s physical body will never be completely synonymous to their artwork.

Chris Miner’s Artists Statements is on exhibit in the State of Flux Gallery in Modern Fuel until Feb. 13.

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