♥ Zoe Leonard ♥

– [ They offer wood and food: fire, building material, fruit. They are beauty. ] :

“Can you tell us a bit about the use of the tree in your work?

Trees show up in my work over and over again. I think I use them so much because they are such an essential symbol. Trees represent home, shelter, the seasons, change and stability, life and endurance. They offer wood and food: fire, building material, fruit. They are beauty. They occur as religious symbols–representing the connection between earth and sky, as signs of both abundance and longevity. They reflect seasonal changes clearly and dramatically. They indicate water sources and survival zones, marking oases in the desert, and timberline in the mountains. Although trees are much larger than we are, they sort of set the scale for us–we rest beneath them, cultivate them in orchards. Our language reflects our relationship with trees and forests. We speak of having roots, of bearing fruit, of family trees.

From: an interview with Zoe Leonard.

– [ Analogue photography has entertained a very special relationship to the world and its objects. ] :

“In her photographic works, Zoe Leonard investigates current cultural themes like gender roles, globalization, and our relationship to nature and history. At the same time, however, the American art photographer, whose works are part of the Deutsche Bank Collection, reflects upon the medium’s various different roles. ”

In Deutsche Bank Art Mag.

– [ Photographs as documents ] :

“Not only journalism but the other roles that photography has played outside of the art context: aerial reconnaissance photography, science and medical photography, family snapshots. All the ways in which human beings have documented the world in an attempt to order it, in an attempt to consume it or rule it or hang on to it in some sense. […]

I’m reframing. Asking people to take a second look. Not just the objects themselves but how they are displayed.[…]

I wanted to make something positive and strong. The museum made me uncomfortable, and I wanted to get at that. See if there was a way I could change it. As a kid, I wanted to be Van Gogh. But sometimes at the Met, I would want to be one of the beautiful women in the paintings. I was torn. Do I want to be Picasso or do I want to be one of these beautiful women. Which is more satisfying? Do I even have that choice? I used to leaf through this one book of Man Ray photographs in a virtual stupor over Meret Oppenheim and Lee Miller. Of course, at the time I had no idea that both of these women were artists. Similarly, at the fashion shows, I watch the models. I desire them, I envy their beauty, I pity their objectification and I am disgusted by the whole ritual — simultaneously and in equal measure.”

In Journal of  contemporary art.


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