Claire Rosen's “Imaginarium”
Claire Rosen's “Imaginarium”
The show jumps from the walls of the UPI Gallery. A group of green turtles climb upon a banquet table with green foods that draw them forward, a troop of monkeys clamber on a terraced hillside grabbing their favorite foods, and a group of Cheetahs look like the Last Supper of the disciples.
Rosen’s photography creates a whimsical look at the world with animals, the Traveling Mouse, and still life’s that combine life, death and a beauty that transcends both.
United Photo Industries is presenting Rosen’s work in celebration of the publication of her recently published book “IMAGINARIUM,” which is also the title of the show. Her photographic constructs remind us more of classical paintings than the highly stylized creations of a single capture of time. They speak highly of the planning and patience involved in both their creativity and content.
The large-scale panoramas, The Fantastical Feasts, feature lush banquet tables with not your ordinary dinner guests. Birds of a Feather is a grid installation of portraits of live birds juxtaposed against historic wall paintings that fill one corner wall within the gallery. And one of our favorite stories from Rosen involved the creation of her The Traveling Mouse series which feature self portraits of the artist wearing a creepy mouse head in various settings that are both endearing and magical.
"We have worked with Claire for six years," says Sam Barzilay, Creative Director and Co-Founder of United Photo Industries. "She's the only artist that's been on The Fence every single year for six years. Different juries every year, every year she gets picked. Different work, I love the creativity, how diverse it is, how it all has one voice."
Rosen has twice been named to Forbes' "30 Brightest under 30" for art design and has been recognized by such stellar publications as Communication Arts, Graphis and PDN. She holds a BFA in photography from the Savannah College of Art and Design and a liberal arts degree from Bard College. Claire has been exhibited from New York to Los Angeles and London to Seoul and her work can be found in a number of public and private collections. In 2013, Claire had her first solo museum show at the the SCAD Savannah Museum of Art in Georgia.
Claire teaches along with Ron Haviv for the organization, Foundry, which produces photojournalism workshops worldwide.
"The idea of Foundry was: ‘Let’s create something that’s going to train locals in visual narrative storytelling, so they can tell their own stories.’ They can tell the stories of what’s going on in their community because they know it. They live there. It’s their home. It’s their world. That’s really what it really came down to: Let’s create a workshop that’s affordable for almost anyone, and we’ll do our best to bring as many people as we can in," according to Eric Beecroft, Co-Founder and Director of Foundry.
Haviv helped her with several of the photographs, especially the cheetah's. While working with Foundry in Capetown, South Africa, she met the animal trainer who kept the coalition of Cheetahs.
"He was like their father," she said. "He was one of the most amazing animal trainers I've ever met. The parakeets and the turtles were pets of mine."
The Traveling Mouse are all self portraits.
"I'm just going to change into a dress and put this mouse head on," said Rosen. "It's so funny, you meet so many interesting people, they tell you you have to go see this thing or go to this place. It's a great way to exchange information."
Her still lifes are shot with the Fuji GFX medium format mirrorless and T2 DSLR mirrorless systems which look remarkably like large format film.
"I find that their files look far more like film," she said. "I think that enabled this project to happen."
The show opened December 7, 2017, and will continue at UPI's gallery through January 27, 2018.
It is worth the trip to DUMBO to see the whimsical views of Claire Rosen's IMAGINARIUM.
"It makes me laugh, it makes me smile," said Barzilay.