CHRISTA BLACKWOOD (Austin TX, USA)
Christa Blackwood is a photo, text and installation artist working with themes related to identity, history, and popular culture. Her visual voice was developed while a student at New York University, when she began producing street installation art such as Butcherknives (1991), a work that addressed issues of sexual violence. A chilling juxtaposition of billboard-like close-ups and text from poet Michelle Kotler, Butcherknives, was plastered all over the streets of lower Manhattan on the evening that the William Kennedy Smith verdict was announced. The poster’s timely and provocative appearance resulted in heightened critical attention for Blackwood, including an invitation to join the Women’s Action Coalition (WAC) from renowned artists and scholars, Kiki Smith and Lucy Lippard.
Her works employ multiple techniques and methods, fusing traditional, historical and alternative processes with contemporary practices, street art and clandenstine installations at cultural institutions. Blackwood received her Masters in Studio Art from New York University and Bachelors in Classics from The University of Oklahoma. Her work has been featured in several publications including The New York Times, NYQ, New York Newsday, The Village Voice and The Chicago Sun Times. She has exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the U.S. and abroad.
Beauty Revisited celebrates the majesty of the male form through the re-interpretation of
classical photographic nude studies of the human figure.
The small 8×10 inch gilded platinum prints on vellum and large 20×24 inch hand pulled photogravures are a continuation of the Prix West series, a genealogy of classical photographic studies of the human male form in the great outdoors. The models, all local Austin youths –
Sam, Blake and Morgan, ages 19-22, perused my photo library of historical images, photography books and photo biographies to select images that they would like to use as inspiration for our shoots. Most recently their selections have included works by Weston, White, Stielglitz, Newton, Frielander, Gibson and Man Ray. The works are primarily shot in my studio studio with large format view cameras, and, at times, on location. The location sites have included White Sands, New Mexico and the Texas Gulf Coast, as substitute for the sand dunes on the West Coast in California, an homage to Edward Weston’s work with Charis Wilson at Oceana, California.
Practice Statement: How does photographing on film (or using your material photographic process of predilection) inform your artistic practice?
I love film! I love the physicality of film-holding film, loading film and processing film. I love over processing, pushing/pulling, the hands on mark making and manipulations and non-homogenized look that gives film its depth and breath. I have shot film for over 20 years and particularly love the old Polaroid films-the instant processing slide films-polapan and polagraph and also the positive/negative films-Type 85, 665 and 55. Still have two bins in my fridge filled with Polaroid films.