Thursday, March 12, 2009

Mishka Colombo on Me

For our Professional Practices for the Visual Artist class this week we were partnered up and had to visit one another's studios and then write about our partners work as well as their studios on the class blog.  My partner was Mishka Colombo, a junior painting major.  Her work was spectacular- very imaginative as well as well accomplished technically.  Below is what she wrote about me, which blew me away to say the least.  It is technically my first written review; its written so well that it's almost like she knows more about my work than I do.  It makes me very happy to not only receive such a well written and thoughtful review but also to know that my work really is achieving what I want it to be.  Definitely sending a thank-you note at least to this girl :)

Jess Kemp

Photography Junior

Jess Kemp is a photography junior from Pennsylvania. She tends to lean toward film rather than digital.

Jess showed me several series of work in her studio/home. The pieces were professionally displayed and well organized.
The first prints we looked at were small, intimate colour close-ups of the backs of individual's heads. While the back of the head isn't the first place you might think of as a recognizable aspect of someone's body, Jess's portrait display the distinctiveness and vibrance of each sitter as clearly as if she'd documented their faces.

The next collection was more close-ups of the human form, but focusing on where the skin met textile: either the hem of an undergarment or the surface of a sheet/blanket. There was a clear emphasis on the richness of texture that both the skin and the fabrics held. The pieces felt very quiet and appreciative of simple beauty.

We moved onto some very haunting pieces which came with excellent supplemental stories. They photos examined two abandoned sites: one a town forced into evacuation because of a domineering powerplant, and the other of a stretch of land uninhabited because of an unseen and perpetually burning coal fire below the surface. My favourite of this series was a jarring photo of where an asphalt road had been buckled and ruptured open, with smoke snaking out of the fissures.

The last series we saw was a personal exploration into the culture of racecar driving in Jess's home town. Jess said she wishes to represent the familial aspect of racing: the close knit bonds of the community and the actual families of the drivers.

Overall Jess seems to treasure and gravitate toward people. Even in the architectural photos, the absence of human beings (but evidence of their presence in the past) was what made pieces so powerful. She skillfully understands simplicity and abstraction. Her work is honest and personal, and it was wonderful to get a one-on-one tour through the evolution of her work.