Isa Leshko: Elderly Animals
2012 HCP Fellowship Recipient
When a photographer picks up a camera, he or she is surrounded by an entire world to point her camera at. She will pick a small rectangle out of all of this possible everything and say “this is what I’m paying attention to - this is what’s on my mind - this is what’s in my heart.” Artists understand the world by creating metaphors, the same way that scientists understand the world by creating scientific models. The strongest and most soulful art is achieved by using a balance of intellect and intuition. An artist will be drawn to something without knowing why, then she will bring her intellect to those first images and the resulting insight will enable her go back out and take images that are more profound. Each round of photographing and listening to the images takes her deeper into the heart of the issues and questions that haunt her.In Isa Leshko’s case she explains, “I began this series shortly after I had spent a year in New Jersey helping my sister care for my mother who has Alzheimer’s disease. When my mother got ill, I made a conscious decision to not photograph her. However, caring for her had a profound impact on me and I knew the experience would influence my photography. Shortly after I had returned from New Jersey, I encountered a blind elderly horse that was living on a relative’s property. I was mesmerized by this animal and spent the afternoon photographing him. After reviewing my film, I realized I had found a project that would enable me to sift through my feelings around my mother’s illness.”
We are surrounded at all times by “unimportant things" that have a lot of important things to say to us if we stop to look and think about them and with them. One can use a geiger counter to find concentrations of something powerful and invisible, but the best photographers, like Isa, use a camera the same way. Isa has indeed found something powerful and invisible here. I find myself in deep conversation with these (self-)portraits of elderly animals, looking in from an unexpected new vantage point at complex issues of mortality and what it means to be human.
-Christopher Rauschenberg, Juror
On View: May 4- June 23, 2012
Opening Reception: Friday, May 4, 6-8pm
Artist Talks begin at 5:30pm