Can't Live the Commonest Way On Six Bits a Day
works by Charlotta Janssen
Artist Reception: Friday October 9, 7 - 9pm
October 8, 2009
through November 7, 2009
NY Studio Gallery is pleased to present “Can't Live the Commonest Way on Six Bits a Day"*, works by Charlotta Janssen. In her current series, Janssen re-imagines discarded and archival photographs of poor and working class Americans taken before, during and after the Great Depression. While at once cautionary, the images celebrate both the individual dignity and group solidarity of the subjects while capturing the flavor of the times.
Janssen paints large scale images from a collection of old Americana photographs. Her color range is narrowed to a somber palette of white, black, aqua and grey iron. After painting she “rusts” the painting and the grays oxidize and bleed into orange, red and brown tones, giving an antique patina to the stylized faces of the past.
Janssen is drawn to the tension between facial expressions and the stoic formality of the age—as expressed through uniforms, suits, dresses, hats, machines, architecture, etc. She says “I like bringing out the kinetic energy of awkward characters from a time past, where smiling for a picture wasn't expected.” The series brings vibrant new life to the deteriorating images of a past, but all too prescient, era.
*Taken from a caption of a Dorothea Lange photograph