Artist Statement: Pandemic Shadows by Laurie Edison

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Pandemic Shadows #3 by Laurie Edison

Artist Statement

Laurie Edison: I’ve been an artist and a visual activist for almost all of my life. Until Pandemic Shadows, I’ve done intimate collaborative black and white darkroom portraits, made to change how people see. My work has been influenced by the abstract expressionist work that I grew up with in my NYC childhood, and by the Dutch Golden Age painting that I discovered when I became a photographer. Because I make social justice projects, it’s important to me that the work be seen. My photographs have been exhibited on 3 continents and in many cities, including New York, Tokyo, and London.

I’ve been walking & living in the shadow of the pandemic and the lockdown, photographing the Pandemic Shadows that I see everywhere. I became interested in shadow patterns when I began taking iPhone photos. The pandemic, the isolation, and the walking I’ve been doing, have transformed my vision, making it far more emotionally involving and centered in my present life. It lets me make beauty in hard times.

The lockdown has made me pause, observe and create images of shadows that depend on light and time and sometimes air. For me they capture an essence of this pandemic time.

My work is developing very intensely, in terms of emotion, choices and differences from my previous images. The California wildfires changed the light and shadow. The people I’ve known in fire danger seem to be influencing the work as well.

One of the beautiful places shadows can go for me is into abstraction. I use it a lot in composition but my work has not been usually abstract. It’s good for my artist’s heart to go somewhere else. In my usual day, shadows have become a major part of my perception.

This is the first time I’ve seen myself in my art this way. It’s a shock to have the way I see change so powerfully. The world has changed so much and so quickly and my vision has inevitably followed.

copyright Laurie Edison
Pandemic Shadows #1 by Laurie Edison

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Pandemic Shadows #10 by Laurie Edison

copyright Laurie Edison
Pandemic Shadows #13 by Laurie Edison

About Laurie Edison

Laurie Toby Edison is an American artist, photographer, visual activist and queer feminist. Her work has been exhibited internationally in museums and galleries in USA, Japan, China, South Korea, Hungary, England and Canada. It includes two books, Women En Large: Images of Fat Nudes and Familiar Men: A Book of Nudes, and her Japanese photographs, Women of Japan. Laurie is living in her studio in San Francisco, USA.


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