Sunday, 8 March 2009

Alexandra Wiesenfeld

Man Made is an series of paintings by Los Angeles based artist Alexandra Wiesenfeld. Juxtaposing landscapes with portraiture, Wiesenfeld uses Fort Peck Lake and Texas death row inmates as her subjects. This dramatic contrast lends itself to ideas of expansion and contraction, physical versus psychological landscapes.

A serene landscape in the Montana badlands, Fort Peck Lake and its dam were made famous as the initial cover of Life Magazine. Entirely man-made, the lake is vast and solitary, a by-product of FDR‚s new deal. The lake shows no trace of human presence, just sky, water and a strip of rocky soil. Recently, the lake has been subject to a web cam which Wiesenfeld uses to record its‚ constant changes of light and weather within a composition that remains fixed.

The portraits are another fixed composition: youth on death row appear with adult composure as they take on the camera for a final photo. A direct corollary to the lake, these individuals are in state of constant introspective flux as their surroundings remain static. Wiesenfeld writes, „The inmates are like the lake and their emotions the weather: in captivity minor changes can be dramatic. Systems of law and order forever alter the land as well as the lives of the inmates; what started as a passing interest (in the inmates) seemed to have an increasingly direct relationship to a lost a forlorn landscape.

+Alexandra Wiesenfeld
+The Happy Lion Gallery

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