artist who works visually uses their medium to express what
cannot be said in words. Normally the better an artist is
at putting thought and emotion to paper in a visual expression,
the worse they are at putting it down in words. As I have
grown older, I find the complexities and dualities of my thoughts
and feelings reflected onto my surroundings. Objects become
my emotional triggers, a fetish unlocking my inner self. I
tend to attach more importance to items, unable to let go,
transferring my feelings into them. If my favorite toy is
broken, I am broken as well.
am enamored with the 20" x 24" Polaroid camera.
This six foot, 300 pound behemoth, can take trivial flotsam
and jetsam and impress an importance in meaning that is
lost on the smaller scale. In addition, it offers an immediacy
of result that is sometimes lost in my black and white photographic
work. It is like taking a picture of my soul.
large scale Polaroid process is straightforward, much like
its smaller counterpart. The positive and negative sheets
are pulled from the back of the camera and peeled apart.
The act of making a transfer though, is more labor intensive.
This process reflects the act of pulling emotions out of
the shell in which I keep them, and splashing them onto
paper. The positive and negative sheets are immediately
peeled apart, and the chemical filled negative is placed
on a wet piece of paper. The chemistry is forced into the
paper: it is pushed, squeezed and rolled into the wet material.
Peeling away the negative, the image is revealed, and the
excess chemistry is stripped away. This process leaves burn
marks, bubble trails, and occasionally parts of the image
not fully developed. It does not create a perfect image
why go to the trouble and extra effort to transfer the negative
away from the Polaroid paper? Why degenerate the images
by transferring them? I create these works to express myself,
to transfer myself onto another surface. The chemistry of
the transfer burns, runs, bubbles, tears and bleeds off
the edges. It is messy, much like the inner struggle that
creates these works.
am now trying to force my image making process further.
Rather than taking familiar, comfortable objects to the
Polaroid studio, I am incorporating mostly locally found
objects. So, not only do I respond to the emotions that
I feel around me, emotions inflected on me by my surroundings,
I also find these emotions in the discarded items of the
city. I know that the feelings I have are the same that
others have felt. Just as I struggle in my work to find
a way to express myself in our image driven society, so
do I struggle with myself to find my individuality in a
society where everything seems to have been done before.
I find solace in the used, discarded things from others'
lives. I want to recycle their meaning and importance, to
infuse them with the feeling and thought that this city
has impressed into me. Then when I am complete, I return
these objects back to the city, keeping only the image,
the memory of the event and the feeling that is left inside.
BEELER ARTS RESUME
of the artist at work in Prague,
and a description of the Polaroid Transfer process. See
her 4" x 5" Polaroid transfer work as well.
SEE PHOTOS OF BARBRA OOSTING IN THE POLAROID STUDIO IN PRAGUE