|Clowns: Hot Codlins and a Quartern of Gin|
Great Western Studios presents a series of new wet-plate collodion portraits by photographer Claire Newman-Williams.
The exhibit, entitled Hot Codlins and a Quartern of Gin, is a brutal deconstruction of clowning. Newman-Williams has cornered real working clowns from around the world, and made them stare for bald stretches of time into a large brass lens that first refracted light in 1860’s Paris.
These optics and the wet-plate collodian process create images that might have been swirled together out of bleak, ancestral memory, or austere dream. Wet-plate is an unwieldy and potentially dangerous chemistry experiment, and the resulting black-and-white images cleaving to sheets of glass, have nothing to do with digital clarity.
“Spend enough years photographing beautiful people, and the idea of perfection becomes loathsome. Old photographic processes, like wet-plate collodion, for all their mess and chemical quirk, are cleansingly low-definition”, says Newman-Williams.
These photographs reference something more than the origins of the foam-rubber-nose profession. These paint-corrupted faces become archetypes of humanity (the Idiot, the Lothario, the Spectre,) each preoccupied with longing for his or her peculiar deficit.
“They had to sit still. Most of them didn’t like that. Not having their shtick to distract you away from the fact of their ordinary humanity.”
Hot Codlins And a Quartern of Gin divulges humankind’s usually camouflaged grappling-match against pandemic ridiculousness. Perhaps it’s because these 16 larger than life images are frank enough to suggest the failure in the enterprise, that it hurts a bit to look at them.
Claire Newman-Williams is a resident artist at The Glove Factory Studios, an affiliate of Great Western Studios. While living and working in the US, her portraits appeared in numerous national and international publications including Time Magazine, The Advocate, The Washington Post, and The New York Times. Southern America will be the subject of an upcoming series of wet-plate portraits that will take Newman-Williams on an odyssey through the land of grits and sunny-side-up eggs. You can see more images here.
See related listing here.
Join us on Facebook - It helps! Honest!