Sunday, January 15, 2012

Unveiling of the Present

Detail of The Trees Pt. Reyes, CA October, 2011 by Danielle Nelson Mourning

Introspection, self-reflection, the conscious consideration of personal identity requires the perceiver to discern the essential qualities of the subject, as distinct from external elements. Given how influential environmental factors are in the shaping of our Self, how does one delineate the essential from the accidental? How can you isolate your Actual Person from your Experienced Person?

The philosophy of consciousness has filled up many tomes over the centuries, with countless arguments and nuanced doctrines. But, where words seem ever inadequate, sometimes images convey ineffable observations about self-identity. Danielle Nelson Mourning takes up the challenge in her exhibit "Ordinary Time" at Taylor De Cordoba Gallery.

These self-portraits form a stark series that captures the subject with intense authenticity. These blunt expressions of Self are granted context by photos depicting places or objects, things that may have shaped but are not of the subject.

The Reckoning (2011) by Danielle Nelson Mourning, mirrored glass

There is always a temptation to make the Self into an Other, a reflection in the mirror, so as to put it under analysis. But this is a mental fabrication, an illusionary construct. Only by an immediate and unfiltered awareness can the Self be perceived.

Do these photographs attain that realization? I don't know; only the artist can answer this question. However, I do feel that these images are pared down to the essentials, striking in their raw accessibility.

Of course, the technique of preparation and implementation that creates such powerful portraits is not negligible, but requires meticulous expertise. Although they seem simple, these photographs are the products of impressive skill and conceptual acuity.

Detail of Untitled (Blue Dress, Blue Wall) San Francisco, CA December, 2011 by Danielle Nelson Mourning

"Ordinary Time" is a very engaging show, which is running at Taylor De Cordoba until February 11. It's tough to write in a manner that will do these images justice. So, I definitely recommend viewing them for yourself.

Also, check out Danielle Nelson Mourning's blog, Girl from the West, which has more awesome photos to admire. ;-)


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