Ann Chwatsky’s publications include the book, FOUR SEASONS OF SHAKER LIFE, text by Gerald Wertkin, photography by Ann Chwatsky, published by SIMON AND SCHUSTER, which tells the story of the last remaining Shakers of the Sabbathday Lake Community, Maine.
Ann Chwatsky’s other book is THE MAN IN THE STREET, forward by Pete Hammil, photography and interviews by Ann Chwatsky, published by E.P. Dutton. This book is concerned with the physicality of labor. The viewer experiences the sensuous variety of men.
WHEN I WAS A GIRL
WHEN I WAS A GIRL is a series digital Iris prints. These images evoke the remembrances of the feelings I had when I was growing up, before puberty, when life was still a mystery. The work stems from my longstanding interest in landscape, particularly the iconic landscapes from China and the American West. These are places that have spent much time in and have responded to in my work. Bridging the traditional landscapes with psychological and personal issues was my challenge.
This group of works is narrative using the computer as a montage tool. These pieces incorporate multiple ideas (and images) to tell my story. For example, in the piece, WHEN I WAS A GIRL, I WORRIED ABOUT BEING BURIED, childhood fears are explored along with images of burial mounds from Korea and China and urns from Italy to make the particular more universal.
The Solar System is located within one of the outer arms of the Milky Way, which contains about 200 billion stars.
The Solar System[a] is the Sun and the objects that orbit the Sun. These are a planetary system of eight planets[b] and various secondary bodies, dwarf planets and small Solar System objects that orbit the Sun directly,[c] as well as satellites (moons) that orbit many planets and smaller objects. The Solar System formed 4.6 billion years ago from the gravitational collapse of a giant molecular cloud.
The above WIKIPEDIA definition of the Solar System does not include my fascination with it. I have always looked upwards and imagined what is going on there and what other past societies thought of the sky and its wonders. For me, it represents all that I imagine and feel at different points of my looking. To “record” these ideas, I have devised my own solar systems to bring to life my personal thoughts through images and text.
The Curtain Series are large prints which look at the idea of shrouding and hiding. Curtains represent the boundary between the internal and the external while capturing the space between light and darkness. Curtains shroud our internal spaces in secrecy.
“It was still quite light out of doors, but inside with the curtains drawn the room was full of deep shadows” – Kate Chopin, author
SKY IS FALLING
Ann Chwatsky’s series of pigment ink prints and mixed media is THE SKY IS FALLING.
The advent of digital technology has made it possible for us to be inundated with images wherever we go. Televisions, computers, even cell phones now bombard us with images constantly. And because we live in a world that is so mediated by images, we need to understand and interrogate what this means.
Since 9/11 much of the population has lived with fear and concern for their future. Images of destruction are paraded daily in front of our eyes. The cultural context of our lives is now changed forever by having our borders invaded. Photographers, writers and educators have responded to this change by producing work that dialogues with this concern.
By using digital technology as a tool to share our visions , fears and ideas , it has given us many new ways to show the ideas in artists’ psyches. And by combining these visions with other art forms (such as text, drawing or collage) what was once thought of as science fiction has come to be part of our daily lives.
As an artist I have responded with a series called THE SKY IS FALLING. They are large hypercolored digital images of landscapes that look benign. I then go into the landscapes with mixed media. Sometimes using text and mixed media materials such as beads, porcupine quills or duct tape, I add suggestions of the terror that lurks in our pastoral paradises. These elements are not totally visible until close inspection, seen from afar they look like pleasant landscapes.
I am interested in the blending of genders and in exploring what identity is today. These photographs explore the shifting boundaries between conventional gender distinctions. Their aim is to investigate the unique sensuality of the androgynous experience from the point of view of the aesthetic, rather than socio-political: I am concerned with the beauty and eroticism inherent in this redefinition, rather than with ideologies of sexual preference.