The most amazing event in the Art Community of New Orleans! If you weren’t there, you really missed a magical event. Lori Vrba’s photographs, vision and installation are miraculous and genius.
Lori Vrba’s Piano Farm is a consistently beautiful, fully realized body of work. The images are of a very real place (not far from where I live) but better-Lori has created a world of visual and sensory wonder, a realm imagined yet ever tangible. The photographs are the definition of the word romance, in all its best connotations, while they retain a deep connection to feelings of home, rootedness, there-ness. And the prints, oh, the prints. I was blown away. They explain anew why film, paper, and toner exist. I wanted to hold them, and then dive into them.
In Lori Vrba’s photography, comfort comes from rich visual textures and poignancy of natural surroundings. Her show Southern Comfort, at Jennifer Schwartz Gallery until January 28, is a mélange of photographs that speaks to a love of the medium. Yet within the works resides a tension and unease between the photographer and the people and places around her.Her images, painstakingly printed by hand in her basement darkroom on silver gelatin, are a sepia-tinged ode to her surroundings. Vrba shoots with a Hasselblad, the Swedish brand used throughout NASA’s Apollo program and during the first moon landing. Instead of the craggy desert of the moon, however, Vrba’s Hasselblad captures the roughly textured surface of her North Carolina environs, drawing out the otherworldly in clover and grass.In the artist talk for this show, Vrba describes the states of being an artist and having children as uncomfortable yet beautiful. This discomfort permeates her works, capturing not only a human wonderment toward life, but also the condition of not knowing. There are insurmountable barriers between us and those we love; we can never know them fully, and we are entranced when they surprise us. Such is the relationship between man and nature. No amount of scientific knowledge can diminish the beauty found in small things, the patterns of a moth’s wing, the pigments of a feather, the glow of dusk transforming a landscape you thought you knew. And in that there is comfort.