Photographers Agnieszka Sosnowska and Beth Moon both use platinum and palladium printing processes to achieve a wide range of tones. Their subjects—humans and animals, suspended in liminal places like the sky or a cliff’s edge—seem to be taken from reality, yet are often moving beyond it. Vision Neil Folberg Gallery brings these two photographers’ works together, drawing thoughtful conclusions about the relationships between natural forms and space.
Agnieszka Sosnowska’s work defies categorization as portrait or landscape photography. By focusing on individuals that are in motion and betwixt places, she draws interesting parallels between their forms and encapsulating environments. In The Hayride (2011), a woman crouches from atop a bale of hay—her hair whirling upwards in unison with the layers of hay beneath her feet. In another photograph, Self Portrait (2014), the artist herself appears at the forefront of the frame. She curls downward, her neck and back making a soft angle, echoing the waterfall unfurling behind her. Sosnowska describes her self-portraits as “public vignettes that express private stories of relationships, secrets, and memories.” The tension between public and private lives, as well as individual and collective realities seems to pervade much of her work.
Many of Sosnowska’s photographs are in fact self-portraits taken in her native Iceland—all beautifully printed in deep, black-and-white tones. Other works—Mikael and Arna, The Field Trip (2014); Aesa, the Bride (2013); The Hunt (2009)—foreground characters that are solemn, and in some cases quite troubled. The artist’s affinity for large-format film and tendency to depict bodies—particularly her own body—as fragmentary, calls to mind the work of Francesca Woodman. But her work contains an interesting departure point: she often creates diptychs that offer varying illusions of depth.
By contrast, Beth Moon’s subject matter gravitates towards baobab trees and hawks. Works like Odin Cove #9 (2012) and Odin Cove #21 (2012) show birds that seem human-like—their heads craned towards each other as if in the middle of a conversation. With slick black feathers and sharply articulated beaks, these two photographs seem especially emblematic of her work’s sinister sensibility.
Moon often finds dramatic vantage points to grant viewers interesting perspectives; she captures a hawk, emphasizing its wide, dynamic wingspan, or a tree with branches that seem to spread out infinitely into the sky. This is where Moon and Sosnowska’s practices seem to converge: through inventive representations of space, each artist expresses her personal meditations on reality.