Memory is a Verb: Annie Omens: Transcending the Temporal
Memory is a Verb: Exploring Time and Transience brings together twelve women photographic artists exploring the liminal space between time and transience. Represented in this body of work are the universal concepts of loss, mortality, and legacy, and the exploration of what inspires us to seek solace, and reexamine our histories; subsequently unearthing discoveries about ourselves, our relationships, and our place in the universe. This week and next we are sharing projects from the exhibition with interviews by the artists. Today we feature the work of Annie Omens who was interviewed by Annette LeMay Burke. Omens’ artist talk will take place on Thursday, April 21, 5 pm PST through the Los Angeles Center of Photography. Her project, Transcending the Temporal uses the natural world to consider the mysteries of space and time.
Memory, often regarded as fixed or reflective of reality, in this project actively functions as a transformative shape-shifter. The ongoing tension between two seeming opposites – objective fact and subjective perception – together shape a cohesive whole, creating something larger and more nuanced than just the sum of its parts. As new insight illuminates the past, this influences our experience of the present moment; which is itself slipping into the past at the instant we seek to define or quantify it. In this manner, time is elusive, elastic, bending back and over itself; perception comes full circle.
The project Memory is a Verb: Exploring Time and Transience began as the world was besieged with fear and anxiety during a pandemic, longing for a return to normalcy. Feeling a sense of loss, we craved connection to our past and to each other. The pandemic also offered a unique moment in which to interpret things differently. Beyond nostalgia, which selectively employs memory as a self-soothing balm, our exploration reconsidered how we view the past, and what is of purpose and significance, in light of our changed circumstances.
Annie Omens is a photographic and mixed media artist who explores the natural world with a conscious perception of what is hidden, what is known, and how nature impacts the human psyche. Informed by her interest in shamanism and Celtic lore, Omens uses photomontage to examine the intersection of the real and the dimensional depth of the unseen, mixing modalities and meanings with what is perceived and what might be.
Omens’ education includes studies in photography and art at the Milwaukee
Institute of Art and Design, the Savannah College of Art and Design, Marquette University and Mount San Jacinto College in Menifee, CA.
Omens has exhibited nationally and internationally, including at exhibitions at the San Diego Art Institute, Pennsylvania Center for Photography, the Herbert Turner Gallery and the Oceanside Museum of Art, amongst others. She has received numerous awards for her work and she is represented by Galleria 908 in Mexico.
She lives and works in San Diego and Mexico.
Follow Annie Omens on Instagram: @annie_omens
Follow Memory is a Verb on Instagram: @memory_is_a_verb
Transcending the Temporal
As an artist, I focus on the mystical realm and how it intertwines with our ordinary perception. My purpose in creating these images is to stimulate an inner journey in the viewer to discover a reality that transcends the temporal.
My background in the study of shamanism helps me to illuminate pathways which may inspire an understanding that we are an integral part of the sacred web of life.
Using straight captures of landscapes and through the use of digital software, I layer and fold slices of photographic images together to create new dimensions of beauty, mystery and tranquility. These constructed realities can serve as vehicles for dissolving boundaries of space and suspending time. -Annie Omens
Annette LeMay Burke: How does your background influence your work, especially your interest in shamanism?
Annie Omens: I have always had a belief in, and an on-going connection with, the spiritual world. It started when I was a child having my mother tell me stories about elves and fairies and angels. These beginnings led me to study shamanism which teaches the universal principles that are reflected in nature. In this work I try to imbue a spiritual sense into the reality of my straight captures through the use photomontage.
Annette LeMay Burke: What inspired you to create ”Transcending the Temporal”? and how did you decide to use photomontage?
Annie Omens: During the pandemic as we were locked down, I had a need to find solace in nature. Artistically, I went to work to create images of quiet places in forests that depicted the spiritual peace and the life energy that I find amongst the trees.
Annette LeMay Burke: Much of your work has vibrant colors. What led you to choose the subdued palette for this project?
Annie Omens: The world felt like a somber place during the lockdown so my typical use of vibrant colors instead turned toward the introspection I felt which was represented by a darker, interior palette.
Annette LeMay Burke: You are a multi-disciplinary artist, how does photography fit into your creative process?
Annie Omens: I always start with a photograph as a jumping off place. I interact with the image as I am working with it rather than setting out with a clear and concrete idea of what I want to actualize . I tend to let images co-create themselves with me whether it’s using collage, paint, pastels or encaustic wax.
Annette LeMay Burke: Are there themes that you continue to explore in your work?
Annie Omens: I’m always interested in exploring what is under the surface or beyond what our physical senses typically register. I am fascinated by the ethereal essence of nature and strive to express that element in my imagery.
I love the Minor White quote, “…not only photograph things for what they are, but for what else they are.”
Annette LeMay Burke: Who are some of your favorite photographers that inspire your work?
Annie Omens: Contemporary landscape photographers like Paul Caponigro, Ellen Jantzen and Ingrid Weyland inspire me with their manipulated landscapes. I also enjoy photographers who paint into their photographs like Holly Roberts, Aline Smithson and Kate Breakey.
And I love the shadow and dreamlike work of Susan Kae Grant and Fran Foreman.
Annette LeMay Burke: What is your next creative endeavor?
Annie Omens:I have started a children’s book with images that have come out of “Transcending the Temporal” work. I have many images to start with and a story line about “Starseeds”. I’m excited to try my hand at creating a book and thematically will move into the cosmos with it (and of course, back to the earth again).
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