Natalie Obermaier: Coalescing
Two weeks ago, I had the opportunity to see Natalie Obermaier’s solo exhibition Natalie Obermaier: Coalescing presented by Sloan Projects & Lost Art Los Angeles at Santa Monica Place in Santa Monica, CA. The work is a series of unique, hand-cut collages, on view for the very first time through January 05, 2019. The work is dynamic online, but I was wowed by the constructions in person. Each piece is intricately woven or crafted into a new incarnation making us consider the parallel manipulation of advertisements–by the artist and by the advertiser.
There is a lot coming up for Natalie–she will have a solo exhibition at Full Circle Gallery in Baltimore, Maryland opening on January 12, 2019, she currently has work at the Axiomatic Gallery in New Jersey and in February heads to an artist residency at Brush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Saratoga Wyoming.
After graduating magna cum laude from Philadelphia’s Drexel University with a degree in Photography, L.A. based artist Natalie Obermaier moved to Seattle where she worked alongside acclaimed photographer, Jock Sturges. Working in the darkroom five days a week for three years under his guidance, she mastered the craft of black and white photographic printing, while also acting as his studio manager and model. Following this intensive immersion into large format black and white photography, she traveled extensively, discovering her own voice as an artist. Her early bodies of work in black and white film are soulful and classic, showing a natural and deep connection with the people she photographs. In addition to her black and white work, in 2012 the artist began taking a photograph every day for 365 days of the year, using multiple formats, from film to iPhone. The results were printed and exhibited at the end of each year for three consecutive years as immersive installations. Currently Obermaier has turned her attention to hand-cut collage, sourcing her materials primarily from the glossy pages of women’s fashion magazines. When she isn’t lighting sets for Mark Seliger, David La Chapelle and other commercial photographers, she continues to explore her own visual vocabulary and exhibit her work around the country. In 2019 she will be artist in residence at the Bush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, the artist lives and works in Venice, CA.
Coalescing is a series of collages made in response to the incessant onslaught of mass media and pressures of mainstream beauty standards found within. Women’s fashion magazines in particular stand at a crossroads of cult, consumerism and the unattainable image. By re-appropriating and deconstructing those glossy pages something truer, hand-made and authentic can be expressed. The resulting juxtapositions seek to remind one of the visual and psychological manipulations abound in advertising while also creating a new dialogue in response. Coalescing manipulates the manipulated as both rebuttal to the aesthetic pressures of advertising and as reclamation of the human image to speak a deeper truth by reflecting a more personable and representative spirit of self. – Natalie Obermaier
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