Monday, October 22, 2012

Galina Kurlat

Galina Kurlat was born in Moscow in 1981 and emigrated to the United States shortly after the fall of communism in 1989. She received her Bachelor of Media Arts Degree from Pratt in 2005. Her work has been exhibited internationally and is in a number of private collections. She currently lives and works in Houston, TX.

View more of Galina's work here:

Ashley Kauschinger: In your series, Inherent Traits, your self portraits often look like they are of your sisters or cousins that you share traits with but are somehow not always you. What are you thoughts about this, and what themes or ideas is the fuel of this series?

Galina Kurlat:  The self-portrait project came as a direct reaction to my work with scars. I felt that I was asking a lot of my subjects in showing me their most vulnerable physical attributes and I wanted to see how that same process could be applied to making images of myself. I find that the small variations in expression, gesture and posture become significant. Still, most people are surprised to find out it is me in all of the photographs.

Some of the images are hard to look at now, but at the time they were very therapeutic.

AK: How do you think your exploration of alternative processes has evolved over time and what do you feel alt processes brings conceptually into your work?

GK: I hope that by using the collodion process I force an honest approach to the often-deceptive practice of self-portraiture.The most difficult part of working in such a recognizable photographic process is to allow the process to become part of the image without overwhelming it. It cannot not be an excuse for an image not being compelling. This continuous reflection on the medium has forced me to use a variety of techniques including; traditional color photography, Polaroid P/N film, Polaroid color film, salt prints, and wet collodion.

AK: Moving to a new place can be inspiring. Can you speak about your series, Reclamation, and how this work formed when you moved from Brooklyn to Houston, Texas? 

GK: I moved to Houston in the December of '08, the winter months here tend to be overcast, which is my favorite kind of light for outdoor work. My eyes were fresh to the new landscape and I found an endless fascination with the vast abandoned spaces mostly in the industrial East End.

Initially it was the buildings of the East End that attracted me to that neighborhood, their monolithic stature and seeming indestructibility. The integration of man-made structures with the slow tenuous forces of nature is evident. Time, entropy and memory are themes, which I continue to return to in my work.

AK: What is your process of self-promotion? How do you create a balance of making work and promoting it?

GK: I am still surprised by how much of my time is spent on the computer updating my website, entering competitions, answering emails and applying for grants. For me there is no formula to how much time and energy is spent on self-promotion. I think it's important to do a little at a time, while being consistent.

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