“Hero Worship” is a new group show receiving quite a bit of notice at the Mindy Solomon Gallery in Florida. The exhibition features: Pavel Amromin, Jeremy Chandler, David Hilliard, Mark Newport, Gilad Ratman, Matthew Shaffer who present an array of creative works that address the role of male identity in society. (Pictured above: Eric in a Ghillie Suit/Flowers, 2011, archival pigment print, 40x50").
Florida based contemporary photographer, Jeremy Chandler is featured in “Hero Worship” and presents three 50” x 40” photographic prints from his “Ghillie Suit,” (Flowers), created specifically for the exhibition. Jeremy’s collection of recent works is based on research driven by a curiosity in people’s relationship with nature and the environment. And as a result, the visuals create a narrative that contradicts traditional notions of masculinity—a juxtaposition of beauty vs. the viewer’s feelings of anxiety and anticipation. (Pictured above: Ghillie Suit 3/Flowers, 2011, archival pigment print, 40x50").
Jeremy Chandler has exhibited in California, New York and all around his home state of Florida. I caught up with Jeremy just before the exhibit’s opening and proudly share this exclusive interview.
mM : What serviced as a point of inspiration for the series you are presenting at the Mindy Solomon Gallery?
J Chandler : The initial idea for the pieces in Hero Worship, came from the camouflage suits worn by snipers and hunters called Ghillie suits. Basically, whoever is making the suit, will pull plant matter from whatever terrain they’re trying to blend into and create a garment out of it. I like the idea of being able to wear the land and how the suits are this seamless visual merger between a human being and the landscape. (Pictured above: Ghillie Suit 1/Flowers, 2011, archival pigment print, 40x50").
J Chandler : I don’t know that there are any overt art historical references in my work. I actually try not to do that, although I do have many influences. I look at a lot American landscape painting; particularly the Hudson River School as I’m really interested in the idea of the sublime even if many of my photos don’t necessarily represent that idea. I look at a lot pre-photographic illustrations and depictions of hunting. I watch a lot of contemporary westerns and get most of my ideas for compositions from cinema. In regards to other photographers I like, I really like Collier Schorr’s work for how she plays with gender roles within the context of nature, but I also love pictorialist photography for it’s romantic, dreamlike aesthetic. I love the held breath quality and over-the-top drama of Jesper Just’s videos. I pull from a lot of things to make my work and am a fan of so many people. I could go on and on. (Pictured above: samples of Thomas Cole, 1801-1848, part of the Hudson River School art movement).
mM : When did you discover originally discover photography as an artistic medium?
J Chandler : I first got into photography when I moved back to Florida during my second year of college. I took pictures as a hobby for a while and eventually made it my major. At that time I don’t think I was really interested in being an “artist”, I just liked making photographs. Although, that eventually changed as I became more serious about my studies and a more sophisticated viewer. (Pictured above: Craig, 2008, 40x30").
mM : How do you interpret photography as a medium for contemporary art?
J Chandler : That is a big question and one that is complicated to answer. However, I will just say, for me, the photographic medium is the most appropriate way of making the images in my head. I wish I was one those photographers who could also draw and paint because I probably would do those things too. Certainly, photography has inherent qualities, such it’s privileged relationship with the “real” and its ability to act as a document and reference cinema. These things help to inform my work, but I also like how photography can be used to tell lies, which is something else I do. I have different slants to my work. I create fictional narratives, but I also make environmental portraits. Photography allows me to do both of things effectively. (Pictured above: Twilight Tent, 2010).
Kind thanks to Jeremy Chanlder who is getting ready to exhibit at the (e)merge art fair held at the Capital Skyline Hotel in Washington, D.C. September 22 through September 25. Please contact the Mindy Solomon Gallery for more information on Jeremy or to check out a complete list of available works. Creative Loafing review of “Hero Worship.” (Pictured above: River Fire, 2011).