A Light in the Dark - Brooke Shaden
Fine art photographer, Brooke Shaden, finds inspiration in many sources including the beauty and darkness of human nature. An inclusive, humanist approach is a central tenet in much of Shaden’s work, as the artist explores the nuances of the dark corners of the human psyche in work that is emotionally intelligent, chillingly direct, and hauntingly beautiful.
Vanitas-Still Life by Maria van Oosterwicjck (1630-1693), Image Courtesy of WikiCommons
Shaden’s work is often rendered in a dark, tonal palette reminiscent of Dutch Golden Age masters as well as works from the same period in Flanders and the Netherlands. Interestingly, the comparison doesn’t end there. A thematic line can be drawn to Vanitas, a niche sub-genre of still life, focused on symbolic representations of the certainty of death, abruptness of life, as well as the emptiness of material pursuits. Often, these works were quite macabre compositions of rotting fruit, dead animals and glass chalices, rendered in an exquisitely, delicately, beautiful manner.
Rather than inanimate objects, for Shaden the focus is on her human subjects - friends, acquaintances, and often herself, in settings that are often atmospheric as well as allegorical or symbolic. In Shaden’s Room Series, the presence of memento mori can be felt both indirectly, as well as overtly such as in Moment. Here, the skeletal animal remains as well as sand are direct representations of the unstoppable passage of time. However, there is a real human connection in the way Shaden captures her subjects - the vulnerability of the pose, a delicateness in approach. Despite the obvious darkness, there is a lightness and a beauty in each piece, a celebration of the endurance of the human spirit within an acknowledgement of the darkness that connects us.
JoAnne Artman Gallery Laguna Beach, Presents: “Fourth Wall” Featuring Fine Art Photographer Brooke Shaden - October 1st, 2017-November 15th, 2017 | Artist Reception: Thursday, October 5th, 2017 from 6pm-8pm