Michael de Forest
Offenders, Transgressors, Misbehaviors
Nov 3, 2015 – Nov 29, 2015
Preview Reception: November 4th, 6-8 pm
First Thursday Reception: November 5th, 6-8pm
Artist’s Talk: November 22nd, 11am
Michael de Forest has long been interested in stories of human connection and despair inspired by his parent’s involvement in journalism. They wrote columns, reported on local events and took high contrast, black and white photographs for the local newspaper. The graphic, gritty texture of their photographs gave the content of their stories immediacy and focus. Michael’s interest in his parent’s photography later led him to photographs shot in the 50’s by New York free-lance photo-journalist Arthur Fellig, known as Weegee. His images captured joy and shock, ecstasy and despair. Weegee wandered the streets at night with the aid of a police radio and found partiers and perpetrators, victims and drunks, prostitutes and drug addicts to capture with his medium format Graphlex camera. While investigating Weegee’s photos Michael also found old police mugshots. These mugshots revealed subjects as raw, vulnerable, angry, defiant and numb.
On June 28, 2008 Michael’s parents celebrated their 60th wedding anniversary. At the celebration, Michael asked his family members to pose for black and white mugshots. One by one they stared into the camera lens – snap – and then turned 90 degrees – snap. He captured each of them in a moment of arbitrary reflection.
These family mugshots and old found mugshots became references for the masks and bowls in his show, “Offenders, Transgressors, Misbehaviors and Family”. His carved and painted pieces investigate the contrast of vulnerability and immediacy present in both those apprehended, separated, and alone and those connected and supported by family.