Pauline Gola: In the Deep
Photographer and artist, Pauline Gola has created a deeply considered body of work, In the Deep, where she uses the visual language of photography to examine the effects of trauma and give it a new articulation. Her work is shot underwater, a nod to her growing up as a competitive swimmer and her comfort in the liquid world. Her photographs are at once other-worldly and emotional and allow us to bring our own interpretations to the work.
Pauline currently lives in Los Angeles, after living in Brooklyn for years. Her approach to photography is fueled by a broad range of experiences – she pursued drawing, painting and mixed media during her formative years, but fell into music professionally during college. She graduated from University of Southern California’s Thorton School of Music and later studied visual art at the Los Angeles Center of Photography and Art Center College of Design. She is a 2014 Critical Mass Finalist, her work was selected for the 2014 Palm Spring Photo Festival slide show and has been featured in exhibitions across the country.
“The wound is the place where the Light enters you.” ~ Rumi
IN THE DEEP examines the effect of trauma on the psyche, and the path to overcome obstacles that stand in the way of inner peace. The series is a synthesis of revelation, renewal, and grief, balanced by the grace and magic of the figure and light underwater. Somewhere in the gray area – the ambiguity between darkness and aesthetic joy, the fear of truth and the light of acceptance, the representational nature of the photograph and the imaginary qualities of the liquid world – I’m seeking visual dissonance to express the wild dance between mind, body and soul as we grow through wounds of the past. In living through adversity we feel pain, but in the end we are primed to more deeply feel the true redemption of peace and happiness; it’s with this sentiment that I explore my truth.
The personal language I’ve found in this series is built from scenes I create in the aquatic environment – the backdrop of my childhood as a competitive swimmer – and is influenced by German Expressionism. I use underwater lighting techniques combined with bubbles, movement, gesture and reflections to embellish the figure. These liquid aberrations, beneath the surface, reveal what it might look like if our internal battles were visibly revealed and the light at the end of the tunnel was known. I hope that in sharing these moments, others may also find solace in their own experience, knowing that just as darkness begets dawn, courage in embracing our struggles gives us the gift to empathize, to heal, and to live deeply with open hearts.
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