Showing: Winter/Spring 2023
Opening: Thursday, March 9th, 2023
Location: 511A West 22nd St., New York, NY 10011
JoAnne Artman Gallery is pleased to present SAMSARA, a solo exhibition of new works by photographer Brooke Shaden. Drawn from the Sanskrit word meaning “world,” the title refers to the cyclicality of life, death, and rebirth. Like the concept suggesting that worldly life is a circuit of inescapable constant change, Shaden balances control and surrender throughout her intricate compositions to capture a lifelong fascination with the beauty of mortality.
Combining allegorical symbolism with personal narrative, Shaden integrates differing cultural perspectives and rituals surrounding death. Devising and reflecting transformed images through a digital editing process, the resulting compositions are simultaneously familiar, yet otherworldly. As Shaden creates a rich, uncomfortable, and open space to dissect the internalization of grief, imagery such as a glass hearse from India and Tibetan Sky Burials further illuminate how anguish manifests based on culture, location, and spiritual beliefs. Through her stylistic alterations, unsettling visuals unify these ideologies through the universal reality of death: vulnerability felt by both the dying and by the bereft. Expanding on this vulnerability through nudity and positioning of the human form, her images are tonally and thematically representational of existence and impermanence.
Shaden’s profound connection to storytelling and materiality combine her painterly aesthetics with mixed media. Seeking a karmic balance through the use of organic additions of sand, dirt, and hair, Shaden intensifies and compliments atmospheric textures. Accompanying the framed original mixed media photographs, SAMSARA features sculptural components, redacted eulogies that serve as short poems, and an auditory experience. The multifaceted use of materials are themselves a form of samsara, a cycle of life in which elements are repurposed in an unending flow.
Brooke Shaden’s work will inspire, provoke, engage and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression.
April 8, 2023