See my most recent portfolio here http://erikagentry.com
Hold Still(in process): Using video and photography I make contemporary portraits which reference the historical french “carte de visite” invented by Disdéri (1850s). In this series, I am interested in the notion of time, representation and physical examination. The project seeks to explore how representation has at once changed and stayed the same in regards to today’s identity construction. In addition by asking the viewer to pose for 8 minutes, they become conscious of the camera, an antithesis to today’s “selfie”.
Sur Seine (in process):
“Sur Seine” takes place along France’s second-longest river, The Seine. Flowing northwesterly from a spring in Dijon on into the English Channel, the river passes through a thousand communities, towns abandoned due to export of the industrial revolution and some that exist almost solely to feed and support the energy hungry population of Paris. There are over 35 towns Southeast of Paris alone with the suffix “sur-Seine” and any number resemble each other blurring together to become one. Explored by French impressionists, the river and its surrounds can remain unremarkable unless you use your imagination and recognize the life, light and color along the ancient and banal waterway. The project uses photography, mobile phone photography and video.
Gentryfication (in process): Using photography, this project documents the artist’s experiences of contributing to the modification of the demographic composition and commercial neighborhoods of West Oakand, CA. The title, a pun on the artist’s last name and Anglo heritage, explores the phenomenon of wealthier residents moving into poorer neighborhoods to take advantage of cheaper rents and property prices. The artist, (not wealthy) like other artists, has moved to West Oakland for affordable housing, proximity to San Francisco and space.
Series: Ritratto Gratis (2012). Around the year 1200 St. Francis, a simple church Friar from Assisi challenged the church government and society in general with a message of non-materialism and simplicity which was eventually blessed by the Pope and embraced by his namesake order “the Franciscans”, established in 1208.
The concept “Ritratto Gratis” or “Free Portrait” is one I felt was fitting for the historical town of Assisi, as it was inspired by the concept of selfless giving introduced by St. Francis. Inspired by his quote “Remember that when you leave this earth, you can take with you nothing that you have received–only what you have given.” During a summer residency, I photographed 100 residents in nearby Umbrian towns in and around Assisi and produced free portraits which they collected at the International exhibition in Assisi at the Gallery Le Logge.
As an artist practicing digital imaging and since 1996 – I conscientiously chose a different direct “on camera” view as an effort to capture the person with minimal manipulation aside from basic camera controls. I tried to keep the material presence of the work to an absolute minimum. See the Book.
Lumen prints made onsite at Art Studio Ginestrelle outside of Assisi, Italy. The yellow Ginestrella (greenweed) flower covers Mt. Subasio, where St. Francis lived a nomadic life, April through June. Its flower was once used for medicinal purposes in treating conditions like hypertension. Black and white silver gelatin photographic papers are used in the process. The plant cutting is placed on the paper and under glass in the sun from sunrise to sunset. In the heat of the summer the photographic paper makes contact with the plant and produces color shifts and darkened exposures. This contact process references 19th century botanical gathering and cataloging of plants.
Limbo, 2012, 10 minutes
Music: Takuya Imahori
Soprano: Maki Ohta
Photography: Erika Gentry
Created during a two week artist stay in Assisi, Italy and inspired by the Catholic culture and natural surroundings of Summer — “Limbo” explores both my personal state of being during this time and the religious connotation of the word.
In its contemporary context “Limbo” is any status where a person or project is held up and nothing can be done until another action happens. In scripture, “Limbo of the Patriarchs” or “Limbo of the Fathers” (Latin limbus patrum) is seen as the temporary state of those who, in spite of the personal sins they may have committed, died in the friendship of God, but could not enter Heaven until redemption by Jesus Christ made it possible.
Conversations with Grammie started in 2012 after my grandmother turned 90. Each time I call her we have a question to ponder and discuss. Sometimes she has much to say – other days not so much.
#1 June 20, 2012: “What was it like living on the farm”?