Sarah Bloom: Totally Exposed

Totally Exposed: A Solo Exhibit by Sarah Bloom
Sept 3- 30, 2011

Da Vinci Art Alliance
704 Catherine Street
Philadelphia, Pa

Installation view
Sarah Bloom: Totally Exposed

I was really impressed by this solo show after the pleasure of walking through it with the photographer as personal tour guide.The intimate space at Da Vinci Art Alliance is just right for an exhibit of this size. It's a clean, well lit space that enhances the experience of viewing the work on the walls. I had seen Sarah Bloom's work many times previously; first discovering her on Flickr about five years ago, and now keeping up with her almost daily updates on Facebook, Flickr, Twitter, etc etc. In fact, it was by way of her increasingly popular web presence that Sarah was able to fund this show in the first place. A well run Kickstarter campaign raised all of the funding required to rent gallery space for a month and obtain some impressively large prints to put together the current show.

Sarah Bloom adjusting a print

Wasted Knowledge is the largest image in the show at about 30 inches high by 90 inches long, it is printed on silk, giving it a look closer to tapestry than photography, and reminded me of the work Chuck Close has done with woven fabric.It's a perfect image for this type of experimental printing. Every slight breeze in the gallery causes the image to slowly undulate against the wall for an interesting optical effect.

Wasted Knowledge by Sarah Bloom

The Earth is My Body is one of several very large square format prints that looked stunning and really anchor the remaining images in the gallery.Other favorites of mine were prints on translucent paper hanging in the two front windows of the gallery.All of these images are from Sarah's ongoing series of nude self portraits, mostly taken in abandoned and decaying buildings in various cities such as Philadelphia and Detroit. Lot's of people take photographs of abandoned buildings, especially in Detroit, but few people get naked and crawl around among the rubble and grime of  these buildings in order to pursue an intensive photographic project.

The Earth is My Body  by Sarah Bloom

The project explores concepts of age and body image, the confrontation of mortality, and a search for beauty among decay. Sarah Bloom's artist statement includes the following summary.. "I began shooting self-portraits in abandoned buildings in 2007. My work is raw and brave, but there are moments of shyness and vulnerability. More than anything, my self-portraits are about dichotomy. I fall and I rise; I rise and I fall. I try to look towards the light no matter how seductive the dark can be. I confront my own mortality with both fear and defiance. Akin to the stages of grief, I face the idea of aging at first with dread, then resistance, and ultimately acceptance. In my experience, these stages are non-linear."

Sarah Bloom: Totally Exposed

The work is beautifully displayed and thoughtfully hung on the walls. This gallery experience is a reminder that no matter how well you think you know someone's work, no matter how familiar it becomes on a daily internet basis, there is nothing like seeing work first hand. Photography is still about the document. The print will always reign supreme. Last year I saw Edward Steichen's actual prints for the first time at the Metropolitan Museum in New York. I never thought I was a huge Steichen fan until seeing those documents on the wall. I fell in love with them, and it re-confirmed the truth that we can't always trust the internet or even books to represent photography for us. Photography as art must be seen first hand in order to be fully appreciated.

Sarah Bloom: Totally Exposed

 This is a top notch exhibit on so many levels and I highly recommend a visit to see it before the end of the month.  Check out the link to Sarah's website below for updates on the show and where you can find links to her facebook and flickr pages.

Sad and Beautiful World

(As always, just click on the images in this post to enlarge them for a better view)
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