Saturday, February 16, 2013

Paulette Tavormina: Natura Morta @ Robert Mann Gallery

I happened to stumble across the work of Paulette Tavormina while in Chelsea last wednesday. Wow. is all I can the tradtion of classical still life, there is a subtelty and beauty here that is akin to chiaroscuro lighting and tight cropping and painting.

From the press release from the Gallery:
"Natura Morta will bring together a selection of exquisite still life photographs that recall the traditions of 17th century Old Master painting. Luscious fruit and flowers among other things are rendered in a painterly perspective reminiscent of Francisco de Zurbaran, Adriaen Coorte and Giovanna Garzoni, whom Tavormina counts among her greatest influences.

An avid collector of butterflies and insects, shells, dried flowers, and ceramics, the sourcing of props is a crucial part of her process. Each object is closely tied to the place it was discovered - fresh produce from a New York City farmer's market, horseshoe crabs tossed ashore in Nantucket, ladybugs found at a taxidermy shop in Paris. Not only do these objects look to the art historical roots of the genre of the still life, but their meaning is often multi-layered, a fig perhaps referring to the artist's own Sicilian heritage.

Within the long tradition of la natura morta in photography, which calls to mind the compositions of Irving Penn or the anthropomorphic quality of Edward Weston's still lifes, what sets Tavormina's work apart is her reverence for the objects themselves. These pictures are as much about the the life cycles of the objects and the memories they evoke for the artist as they are about the lighting and composition, which make them feel intensely personal. They are her poetic way of expressing respect for the human condition.

Largely self-taught, Tavormina has been exhibited internationally and was the winner of the Grand Prix at the 2010 International Culinaire Photography Festival in Paris. She has worked on set as a food stylist in Hollywood and also photographs works of art for Sotheby's. Her work has been featured in several publications including the New York Times, Boston Globe, L'Express, Martha Stewart magazine and Photo Technique magazine. She lives and works in New York City. "
Red Cherries and Plums, after .GG., 2011 from the series Natura Morta 

Cranberry Beans, after G.G., 2009 from the series Natura Morta

 Strawberries, 2009 from the series Natura Morta

Figs and Morning Glories, after G.G., 2010from the series Natura Morta 

 Flowers and Fish III, after G.V.S., 2012 from the series Flowers, Fish and Fantasies

 Flowers and Fish IV, after G.V.S., 2012 from the series Flowers, Fish and Fantasies

 Oysters and Lemon, after W.C.H., 2008 from the series Natura Morta

 Yellow Cherries and Crab Apples, after G.G., 2011 from the series Natura Morta

Persimmons, after A. C., 2009 from the series Natura Morta 

 Watermelon Radishes, 2008
from the series Natura Morta
Apples and Peas, after J.S.C., 2010 from the series Natura Morta 

 Artichokes, after J.V. H., 2008 from the series Natura Morta

Lemons and Pomegranates, after J.V.H., 2010 from the series Natura Morta

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