Brooke Shaden: Reflection
JoAnne Artman Gallery
Oct. 14, 2021, 12:00 pm
Channeling the light and darkness inherent in humanity through her self-portraits, fine art photographer Brooke Shaden blurs the line between fantasy and reality. Finding inspiration in the dualities of human nature, an inclusive, humanist approach is a central tenet in Shaden’s work as she explores the unsettling corners of the mind with images that are emotionally intelligent, chillingly direct, and visually mesmerizing. Coinciding with the release of her debut art catalogue of the same title, Reflection, takes readers and viewers beyond the realm of belief to the outer limits of imagination.
Retrospective of her young career, Reflection chronicles the trajectory of Shaden’s practice and her evolution as an artist. Beautifully integrating both new and old works, the collection of featured self-portraits navigates challenging themes of life, death, identity, and transformation. Posing difficult questions to her viewers about change and the darker psyche of mankind, Brooke Shaden’s photography addresses our collective anxieties, dreams, and nightmares, while maintaining an undeniable, haunting beauty.
The impactful compositions are created through color, scale, and perspective adjustments to everyday objects and settings. Each photograph is a story as her artistry extends past the camera, creating scenes that resemble paintings and speak of an era that is not our own. Shaping the world to her vision utilizing only natural, practical lighting, and building the final image through a digital editing process, Shaden represents the breathtaking visuals attainable through a fine-tuned manipulation of the photography medium. Resulting in familiar, yet otherworldly images, Shaden’s art is often allegorical as well as visceral, seductive, and instantly relatable. Recent works combine her painterly aesthetics with mixed media elements- including the application of oil paint. Intensifying and complimenting atmospheric textures and imparting a sense of motion, the paintographs celebrate a balance of chaos and control, restraint and spontaneity that is echoed through Shaden’s body of work.
Communicating vulnerability and strength, Shaden’s self-portraits are unusual and emotional, exposing the fundamental truths and contradictions of humanity to establish a real connection with her viewers. Unconventional and honest, each photograph is ultimately a story; an interwoven narrative that examines existence, purpose, and of course, what defines beauty. Imbuing a sense of anonymity, viewers are at once the voyeur and a participant in the unfolding action, activating the images through gaze and giving life to the stories captured inside. Creating a reflection of the world around her and of herself, Shaden’s art becomes a mirror for both the creator and the observer.
Brooke Shaden’s work will inspire, provoke, engage, and mesmerize. With visual perceptions always changing, peek behind the stories told and you’re sure to find the right artistic expression.