23 Sandy Gallery is pleased to present Paradox and Illusion, surreal photographic assemblages by Boston artist Fran Forman. This show opens June 6 and runs through June 28, 2008. Fran’s images have a lyrical, childlike quality and a strong sense of the surreal. Her storybook photographs are illustrative in nature and explore the teeming intersection of time, dreams, memory, and human relationships.
“I have always started with the human figure,” she states. “My collaged images often begin with the humble tintype portraits of anonymous mid-19th century Americans. Dressed in their finest, posed in the itinerant photographer’s makeshift studio, their desire was to be remembered.” The figures are then arranged within a digitally-fabricated environment — a painstaking, time-intensive process. “The narrative develops from the intersection of the figures and their environs,” Forman notes. “Each image takes many weeks to build and create.” The resulting work has been described by turns as “eerie,” “edgy,” and “enticing.”
Fran’s work recently won first place in the PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris in the category of Fine Arts Photographic Collage.
With a background in psychology, design, and photography, I make photographic images combining portraiture with dreamed landscapes and the natural world. As my work creates juxtapositions in time, it also re-imagines relationships of scale and physical possibility. Although my images violate the laws of physics, they honor the interdependence and connections of humanity with the animals, insects, and plants, which populate the natural world.
My collaged images often begin with tintype portraits of ordinary mid-19th c. Americans, on which I “paint”, reviving the fashion of that time. In isolating the figures from their studio backdrops, I dissolve the traditional boundaries of time and place. I replace the imaginary scenes used as backdrops with my own invented photographic reality. I hope to suggest the connection of humble portraiture to contemporary technology, children to the cosmos, humanity to the natural world, and the spiritual to the physical.
My work draws inspiration not only from 19th c. pictorialist photography but chiefly from the 20th c. artists who used color, visual narratives and symbolism to contemplate the human condition: the juxtaposed assemblages of Joseph Cornell, the paintings of Rene Magritte, and the poetry and photography of Duane Michals.
Fran Forman, who resides in Boston, Massachusetts, studied art and sociology as an undergraduate, received an MSW, and then an MFA in photography and graphic design.
She has held a succession of positions in the field of illustration and design. Between professional life and raising two daughters, Fran continued to create her personal art, combining her illustrative and photographic skills with a passion for surrealism, paradox, illusion, assemblage, the non-human world, and the dislocations of time and place.
Fran is a Visiting Scholar at the Women’s Studies Research Center at Brandeis University. She is also a recipient of grants from the Tyre and Pufflin Foundations. She teaches workshops in digital montage, and her work has been exhibited widely. In 2007 and 2008 she was a winner in PX3 Prix de la Photographie Paris and Adobe/Photoworkshop.com as well as numerous juried exhibitions.