Sunday, September 28, 2008

Frank Noelker (Jenny's Pick)

Frank Noelker is a photographer who explores images of animals in captivity. His pictures are purposefully driven to show our connection to animals and above all to draw awareness. In an interview with Satya magazine, Noelker describes that “there’s also a kind of loneliness and isolation that [he] feel[s] when [he] see[s] the animals in captivity and [he] want[s] that to come across. [He] tr[ies] to use beauty and all of [his] training as an artist to get into people’s hearts and minds” (Satya,Like Beauty, Loneliness is in the Eye of the Beholder). Noelker’s portraits of animals in zoos, as demonstrated in his book “Captive Beauty,” are subtle. We get this notion of a beautiful and magnificent animal, however, misery and a type of desperation become evident. The animal’s color highlights their striking features. My intention for using paint is to emphasize the beauty of the animal, much like Noelker describes.

There is also a depiction of sadness in the photographs due to the animal’s look and the confinement of their living conditions. He also comments on the “mental illness” of the animals. One of my paintings will examine this disorder through the ways in which we attempt to preserve a species. While I will be working with paintings, some of Noelker’s ideas are very similar to what I will be focusing on. I will be showing the corrupt environments of beautiful creatures under the influence of mankind. I hope for the viewer to obtain an emotional response and to want to promote change.
I think that my project is similar to Julie Blackmon (Janna’s pick) in that her photographs involve “scenes that are often chaotic or strange” (Janna). While Blackmon focuses on everyday household themes, in working with children she can show them in a natural and common setting. By working with animals I hope to portray the “chaotic” situations they find themselves in. The only difference is that the idea behind their environment is unnatural. Blackmon’s images really draw you into the environment and space, which is what I will also be working on.


Rachel Slater said...

These images that you posted appear to be at the root of your topic. The animals really do transcend the emotions of loneliness and depression. As a viewer I feel empathy for the animals and almost feel uncomfortable and disturbed from the stark lighting and raw emotions captured in Noelker's photographs. This is a very good resource for you. I am very curious to see how you are going to portray these images through painting though. Some of the photographs that you posted are in black and white...are you going to use the starkness that the black and white formatt gives or are you going to paint with color? I am also curious about how you are going to get your images. Are you going to go to the actual zoo like in Noeler's works or do you think you will be working from photographed resources?

audrey said...

In the first class meeting you mentioned that your topic can be very broad and spread to various issues like bullfights and rodeos. Do you plan on addressing these as well? That might be something interesting and challenging to do because these can be portrayed with humans in the image and in action, a difference from Noelker's work (though I only glanced those posted). Are you interested in that?