The Photographic Performance 2017/Lori Pond
This is the third in a series of blog posts, conversations, focusing on the many entries we received for our call “The Photographic Performance 2017” that were not chosen for exhibition in the gallery, yet we feel demand an audience.
We met Lori Two years ago at PhotoNOLA. She has had work in the gallery previously and we have seen and admired much of her work online. However, to walk up on her Bosch Redux series at the portfolio walk was a revelation.
My freshman year in college, before I was an art major, my best friend, who was a year older, was studying art and he brought home an art history book at semester break. Leafing through the textbook I came upon Bosch’s “Garden of Earthly Delights.” I think it might be the first time that I really “looked” at a painting. It was shocking, titillating, repelling, amusing, but most importantly it was thought provoking – what in the hell was he trying to say? Since, I have seen it described as an unapologetic celebration of voyeurism or a dire warning of the evils of partaking in the temptations of the flesh. No matter which interpretation was intended it is captivating and seductive. Lori’s photographic interpretations of elements of the grand painting are equally fascinating and compelling. Yet, because they are graphic recreations of single images or vignettes taken from the chaotic whole they become uniquely her own.
How exactly did I get started on Bosch Redux? What if anything did I have to learn in order to successfully complete it?
It was quite the undertaking, because I had never done a studio shoot before, or worked with models. I solved the model issue by cajoling my friends into modelling for me. Neither I nor they knew what we were getting into, though. My models ended up doubling as wardrobe, set, makeup, and props people in addition to posing for me. (For Bosch Redux 1.0, I recruited my model to paint his own costume.) We all learned together along the way. I am eternally grateful to them!
I work on a television talk show in the graphics department, so I’m around a bunch of very talented crew people who made costumes, props, custom lighting equipment, etc. for me that greatly helped me accomplish this work. For example, I had a life-size boat made for Bosch Redux 4.0, two otherworldly costumes made for Bosch Redux 14.0 and Bosch Redux 17.0, and prosthetics made for Bosch Redux 2.0 and Bosch Redux 12.0.
I discovered Hieronymus Bosch’s work in a high school art class, and I was hooked ever after. I had never seen anything like his work and wondered where he came up with all of his fantastical creatures and settings. A few years later I got to see his masterpiece, “The Garden of Earthly Delights,” at the Prado Museum in Madrid and was wowed. I then purchased a print of it, which hung in my living room for years. When I bought the Taschen book of Bosch’s complete works years later, my fascination then turned into a self-admitted obsession, and I decided to make work based on his paintings. I made a trip to Holland in 2016 to attend the Bosch 500 Festival, celebrating the 500th anniversary of his death. I learned a lot more about Bosch the artist and the man. I came back home with the realization that his work is all about good vs. evil, and that each of his paintings are morality plays.
Who inspires me?
I’m inspired by so many people and things. The photographer Jerry Uelsmann has always been a favorite because of his singular vision and technique; Ludwig van Beethoven’s music provides me with solace and courage; moonlight reflected in a dew drop shows me the whole world; poets Mary Oliver and Dogen (12th century Buddhist monk) ignite my curiosity; painters Wayne Thiebaud and Mark Rothko inspire through their very different uses of color.