Sunday, August 11, 2013

Natural History on the Move - Upcoming Exhibitions and Exhibitions to Date

We have made an effort to find a wide audience for our Natural History portraits. This fall they will be seen at Newspace Center for Photography,  Portland, Oregon and Lishiu Photography Festival in China. The exhibition history is gratifying.

June 8 - August 31, 2013
Historic Process/Contemporary Visions
Dina Mitrani Gallery, Wynwood Art District, Miami, Florida

July 5 - August 3, 2013
UnBounded! 2 Invitational Exhibition
Candela Books and Gallery, Richmond, Virginia

May 31 - June 2, 2013
“60 wrd/min art critic” review and performance by Lori Waxman
INOVA (Institute of Visual Arts) - UW-Milwaukee

Hayden's Ferry Review Spring/Summer 2013, Issue #52

People’s Photo Book - launch for the Pingyao Photo Festival, September 2013
People's Photography Beijing, China, February 27, 2013 issue

February 21 - March 20, 2013
The Joyce Elaine Grant exhibition
Texas Women's University, Denton, Texas
curated by Sarah Kennel, Associate Curator of Photographs, National Gallery of Art

February 4 - March 13, 2013
Parallax, a national exhibition 
juried by Martha Madigan, artist and Chair, Tyler School of Art, Temple University
University of Notre Dame, Gormley Gallery, Baltimore, MD

Critical Mass Photographic Competition 2012 finalist, first round

October 19-December 13, 2012
Natural History solo exhibition
Portrait Society, Milwaukee, Wisconsin

September 9-November 24, 2012
Wisconsin Photography at Racine Art Museum, Racine, Wisconsin

July 25-August 18, 2012
The Wall: Klompching Gallery, Brooklyn, NY
The Page: Blink Magazine/August 2012 issue
The Internet: Flak Photo /July-August 2012

May4-July 7, 2012
After Classical Portraiture, Schneider Gallery, Chicago IL

May 3, 2012
Digital Darkroom Slide Show Night
Annenberg Space for Photography, Los Angeles, CA

May 25-June 23, 2012
Alternative Processes exhibition curated by Christopher James
The Center for Fine Art Photography, Fort Collins, Colorado

Diffusion Magazine, Spring issue 2012
Showcase of hand-coated processes curated by Blue Mitchell

Imprints Magazine, June issue 2012
Interview in Professional Women Photographers magazine
November 21, 2011

LENSCRATCH blog feature by Aline Smithson
"The stunning series … Natural History, features one-of-a-kind cyanotypes that incorporate portraiture and botanicals.
The juxtaposition of faces that show history and presence with the fragility of flowers and plant life bring a renewed energy
to the standard portrait."

November 3- December 2, 2011
Soho Photo's Alternative Processes Competiton
curated by Michael Paris Mazzeo First place prize
“My top choice was Barbara Ciurej & Lindsay Lochman's exquisite portraits of elderly women adorned with botanical
specimens by way of cyanotype photograms. An elegant elegy to old age and the passage of time, this work also nicely
references Anna Atkins, an English botanist and the first recognized female photographer, who is credited with publishing
the first book of photographic illustrations, Photographs of British Algae: Cyanotype Impressions."

Friday, August 2, 2013

Strategic Planning and Viewing in The RV Hall of Fame - 2 Guilty Pleasure or Irresistible Nostalgia?

Ciurej and Lochman, from the series, Shinola, 1985
Ciurej and Lochman, from the series, Shinola, 1985

Our return home was punctuated by nostalgia, and perhaps another option for the future. All photographs, unless labeled, are from the RV/MH Hall of Fame.  

And as the sun set in the west, we returned home for a Rainbow Cone....a Chicago tradition since 1926.

Strategic Planning and Viewing in Cleveland - 1 Enlightenment and Inspiration

B packed up all her Creative Capital workbooks, L boxed this season's Natural History portraits and we headed to Cleveland for a long awaited "session" on the road. We slept like babes listening to the lapping of Lake Erie and flapping of turkey vultures and at idyllic Chaska Beach. We headed to Cleveland Museum of Art to meet with Curator of Photography, Barbara Tannenbaum, for challenging comments and observations. Then we surveyed the museum, wowed by the brand new Rafael Vinoly designed atrium, reviewed work at the Carrie Mae Weems Retrospective, saw Ai Wei Wei Zodiac Heads and Tantric Buddhist sculpture
Cleveland Museum of Art - Atrium

Carrie Mae Weems Retrospective

Next on our agenda, the Todd Hido Exhibition, Silver Meadows, in the new, excellent space of Transformer Station. The drive back to Chaska was spend in discussion about the work...we concur with the excellent review by Larissa Archer. We were fueled for laying down guidelines for work in the future.

....only scratched the gorgeous surface.

Thursday, August 1, 2013

Inspiration - Yola Monakhov records the natural world

 Yola Monakhov was featured Humble Arts Foundation Women in Photography
Here is work from Tableaux, part 1
We, 2012

Blue China, 2011

Theory of Dreams, 2011

An Herbarium of the Honorable - Anja Notanja Sieger and Aunt Dilly

Working on Natural History for the third summer has reinforced our consciousness of the aesthetic of the blue veiling we create, but also the history of each botanical specimen we place over our portraits. Grown now for ornamental beauty, the plants we use were once understood as a language in mythology, culinary, healing, and magical arts. 

We began researching the lore, legend and traditional uses of these plants, but could not find a way to carry this information into the 21st century in a satisfactory way. But, as luck would have it, while attending the Creative Capital Seminar sponsored by Milwaukee Artists Resource Network in June, B met Milwaukee poet,  Anja Notanja Sieger.  

Anja took all our research and wove it into a captivating excursion into the matriarchal botanical world:

Mom Has Only One Great-Great Grandma Dilla Memory

Of riding with her in the backseat- 
Great-Grandma Dilla 
                     who quakes 
afraid of the speed.  
50 miles per hour is not
the clop-clop of hooves on dirt.
There is no cud chewing 
behind the power of this engine
She cannot digest the anise 
of her own thoughts beyond
twisting limbs and flying glass
bruises, fractures, breaks, disfigurement 
and the inevitable at its most gristly.

There's an envelope inside her purse
containing "meetin' seeds."
She would offer this child some to chew,
but her great-granddaughter would choke- 
were a deer to leap into the road 
and break pedals stomped.

This child hangs onto a map.
named Rand-McNally, 
and her Great-Grandma Dilly lives 
under her finger.
She will not lift her finger 
it's stuck on Chisholm,
the Minnesota town reels out the window 
her eyes reaching for the sturdy horizon
just like her great-ancestress 
she suffers 
                   motion sickness

Only Grandma Dilla 
doesn't have a name for it.
She has no map to hold, 
She knows of  Mercury, 
its position and plants 
offer a cure for colick 
more reliable than a lullaby.  

The woman could use some aneton oil now
to rub on her temples, brow and sternum.
She would like the car to pull over
so that she could get out and lower herself
into a basin of steaming dill seed tea.
Something to loosen her knuckle knots
something to uncurl her toes
a pickle bath for her wrinkled skin.
They could serve her vertiginous head
with a medley of cruciferous vegetables,
in a tangy grandmother soup.

Grandma Dilla's can't detect any aroma
of dill flower in factory brand relishes
and she's known Mercury's pull 
on germinating crops,
breast lactation 
and even the caterpillars 
of swallowtail butterflies.

When the ride is finally over,
Grandma Dilla boosts herself out 
still twisting her ring and swearing
on the "Hair of a Hamadryas Baboon!"
Then my Great-great-grandma passed through 
the gate to the garden to sit down 
in her dilly weed thicket
and sigh.

© Anja Notanja Sieger 2013

Natural History and the Typologist: collector of collections

 ty·pol·o·gy  DEFINED
1. A classification according to general type, esp. in archaeology, psychology, or the social science.
2. Study or analysis using such classification.

We were delighted to have a feature page in the Typologist Blog, Diana Zlatanovski's curation of interesting object and photo typologies she has found in the world.  Find her own explorations at

At INOVA - A 60wrd/min review of Natural History

60wrd/min review
INOVA Gallery - University of Wisconsin - Milwaukee
June 1 & 2, 2013 

The 60 wrd/min art critic is many things: an exploration of short-form art writing, a work of performance art in and of itself, an experiment in role reversal between artist and critic, a democratic gesture, a circumvention of the art review process.  Reviews were written by Lori Waxman is a Chicago-based critic and art historian. Her reviews and articles have been published in the Chicago Tribune, Artforum, Modern Painters, Gastronomica, Parkett, Tema Celeste, as well as the sadly defunct Parachute, New Art Examiner, and FGA.

The 60 wrd/min art critic was originally produced with no budget and the very generous help of its various hosts and receptionists, many of whom filched the necessary office supplies from their day jobs. Since spring 2009, the project has been generously funded by a Warhol Foundation/Creative Capital Arts Writers Grant, which will enable the 60 wrd/min art critic to travel to ten venues throughout the U.S. between now and September 2010. For dates and locations, see Venues: Upcoming Performances on this site.

While B attended a Creative Capital Seminar sponsored by Milwaukee Artists Resource Network, L presented her work to Waxman.

Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman
6/2/13 5:29 PM

In their “Natural History” series, collaborators Barbara Ciurej and Lindsay Lochman overlay striking black-and-white portraits of women with delicate blue flowery veils. Each of the elements in the process is old: the Roman bust-influenced poses, the women, the cyanotype technique, the idea of veiling, even the botanicals themselves. And yet, entirely new effects arise from their combination, going far beyond any simple equation of older women and the authority they most certainly deserve to be recognized with. Silhouettes printed with distinct facial detail confirm their sources as individuals rather than types. Wrinkles remain visible but cede place of honor to branches and plant fronds. Floral patterns replace skin to suggest the visibility of blood-filled veins and neural pathways underneath. Bold blue designs mark faces with the tribal tattoos of ancient warriors. Ciurej and Lochman prove not that what’s old can be new again, but that what’s old can be relevant, powerful and revelatory—especially when approached in novel ways. 

—Lori Waxman 

Unbounded!2 Invitation - Candela Books and Gallery

While attending Photo Lucida in Portland this spring, we met Gordon Stettinius of Candela Books and Gallery. We were invited to be in Unbounded!2 an annual summer juried invitational exhibitiondesigned for the sole purpose of supporting fine art photographers. We are grateful for this opportunity to show two photographs from Natural History. We are in good company!

In addition, we had the treat of hearing Chris McCaw speak, his work is the subject of Candela's third book, SunburnCandela Books was founded in 2010 to produce a book featuring the work of New York photographer Gita Lenz, whose striking imagery had been all but forgotten since originally being produced in the 1940s and 1950s. No book existed to document her life’s work. In an attempt to augment the legacy of this talented photographer, Gordon Stettinius created Candela Books and published Gita Lenz.
Candela Books’ second book, Salt & Truth with photographer Shelby Lee Adams, coincided with the opening of Candela Gallery in downtown Richmond, Virginia in December 2011. The gallery exists in a renovated historical building and includes a rear working studio space and darkroom.