Monday, February 1, 2016

Erin Neve

Erin Neve, a native Texan, is a photographic artist currently working in San Antonio. Erin’s work centers on ideas of “the body” – the body as a built object in constant flux and mid-transformation, as a space of interior and exterior boundaries, as fragile, as sacred, as a source of abject experience, and as a site of the sublime. Her work has been exhibited nationally and internationally, most recently in Turku, Finland and Austin, TX. Erin received her MFA in photography from the University of Minnesota in 2012, and an MA in Philosophy in 2006 where she focused her research on aesthetics and photographic theory.

Artist Statement

The photos in these series explore themes of fragility, transformation, and bodily ritual in search of transcendence. This work began in 2012 when I accepted a job at a religious school, and I found myself observing others acting out sincere devotion grounded in specific bodily rituals. I watched as they bowed, chanted, sung, ate wafers, and prayed. They believed that bodies that ritually perform these sacred acts express the divine. Guided by a complex history of liturgical tradition, like a dance, I watched as these devout practitioners performed for God to make visible that which is invisible.

From Bread Towers

In Bread Towers, I build towers of bread as stand-ins for the physical body. The structures are made of individual bread pieces balanced entirely on each other. In my studio, the act of balancing quickly became a meditative ritual that requires focus, patience, and a delicate hand. Most towers fall within seconds; some last minutes so that I am able to photograph the structure before it collapses. I learn each piece of bread, how it is shaped, how it shifts, moves, where the weight falls, its density, its limitations; each piece becomes a part of the whole bread-body. The resulting photographs are minimalist still lives of upward grounded fragile pillars of bodily material.

From Submerge

In Submerge, I use water as transformative material by submerging prints into holy water to transform them into sacred and fragile photographic objects. The photos show scenes of clouded underwater landscapes, fogged and disorienting, with light beams and orbs and fragments of floating natural debris. The photos are transfer printed onto handmade kozo paper, and then submerged in holy water and dried. I must dip the prints slowly, carefully, or they will rip and disintegrate in the water. The results are delicately rippled, fragile, and translucent, giving physical form to their invisible transformation.

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