SARASOTA, FLA.- Alfstad& Contemporary
presents its second solo exhibition of New York-based artist Marsha Owett, Fifty Shades of Red.
Sex and photography are often about manipulating perception. Desire to capture or prolong a moment blurs some details as it brings others into focus. In Fifty Shades of Red, you're never quite sure what you're looking at, but you feel an emotion.
Sight and touch are closely-related senses--an image of a texture can elicit a palpable response, and a teasing lack of visual information invites your mind to wander. In "Shade 8" (middle above) floral and flesh are compressed by a shallow depth of field. Challenging conventions of aging and sexuality, "imperfections" are often the only details in focus. In a titillating subversion of gestalt theory, a cropped white rose may be a thigh, a fingertip a breast.
Owett's eye for evocative texture is turned towards her own body, defiantly exposing vulnerability. Macro shots of flesh are draped in rose petals, framing the artist's skin in a sensuous palette. Each image feels luxurious-resolutely sexy in its embrace of passing time.
In some images, flowers act as surrogates for the body. Through a practice likened to action painting, Owett shoots thousands of photos, acting out fantasies upon her proxy flesh. The resulting images, which feature no post-production, alternately convey lust, trauma, desire and heartbreak.
Marsha Owett is a Russian-born artist. Her work has appeared in solo shows at Splashlight Gallery, the Muse Center of Photography and Moving Image, Alfstad& Contemporary, as well as group exhibitions at David Zwirner Gallery, Postmasters Gallery, Northern-Southern, and Underline Gallery, among others. Her work has been featured in the Wall Street Journal, site95 journal, and Deep Sleep Magazine, and named Critics' pick in New York Magazine. In 2016 Owett co-curated a group exhibition with critic Paddy Johnson: "MIMIC: A group exhibition about mimicry, illusion, and material transformation in art" at Air Circulation Gallery.