NOURISH/DEVOUR

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Nourish/Devour is a series of images about our inter-dependence with nature. Species are becoming extinct and there is a litany of transgressions in the way we raise food and consume our daily bread. We have the ability to nourish nature, to care and protect the earth – Nourish or Devour.

This series pares a cooking implement with a nature subject to draw attention to the relationship between what we eat and the natural world. I am interested in the visual tension that is created by nature’s organic shapes and the machine-made forms of the cooking utensils; the contrast of seemingly three-dimensional nature subjects coupled with the flat, graphic two-dimensional presentation of the silverware; and by color versus black and white.

The images are printed in the darkroom from black and white negatives with a cooking utensil placed on the photo paper during the printing process creating a print that combines a photogram with a photographed image. I then hand color the black and white photo. The finished print is matted in black with a velvet inset. Each piece is one-of-a kind.

-Rebecca Pavlenko

A magical experience in a photography class at the Smithsonian Institute taught by legendary instructor, Ralph Hattersly, started me on the path of being an artist. To immerse myself in photography I moved to an isolated cabin in West Virginia, where I delved into the history, theory, aesthetics and practice of photography. After two years of self study, I attended the University of Minnesota and earned a B.F.A. in Studio Arts and a B.A. in art history, graduating with honors in both. I set up a studio in the Rossmor building in downtown St. Paul where I began my work in portraiture and together with my clients, created hundreds of commissioned portraits. I also created several fine art portfolios in conjunction with local theater groups. It was during this time that I became an instructor and taught classes and workshops at a variety of venues, and served as a photography mentor to children and adults.

WARM, the Women’s Art Registry of Minnesota, an organization that works to promote women’s art and women artists was my primary venue for community engagement. I served as the Vice Chair and Chair of the organization, wrote for the newsletter, pitched in on many projects and was the official representative to the International Women’s Conference in Beijing, China. I was also a founding member of WPVA, Women in Photography and Visual Arts, where I hosted meetings, created programs and participated in and coordinated exhibitions. Later in my career, I worked as a scenic artist for the Guthrie Theater on over 100 productions, adding to my creative repertoire.

Currently, I have a studio in the Traffic Zone Center for Visual Arts, an artist’s co-op building in the warehouse district of Minneapolis and add drawing, painting and film making to my creative pursuits. The portfolio of Japanese Garden Polaroid transfer prints that I have been creating over the last 15 years is becoming a book, Through a Zen Lens: Seasons in Japanese Gardens, thanks to support from a Metropolitan Regional Arts Council Grant.

My personal fine art projects often grow out of my love of nature, the joy of exploring alternative photographic methods and over 20 years of Zen Buddhist practice.


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