Ruth Thorne-Thomsen: Aqua Tierra, Mexico February 22 — March 23, 2002

Throughout the course of history, photographers have aligned themselves with various artistic movements, including pictorialism, modernism, conceptualism and realism. While much of today's photography runs the gamut from constructed realities to social documentary, Ruth Thorne-Thomsen is immersed in the ideologies of the Surrealists, creating fictitious narratives associated with the sublime.

Working predominantly with a pinhole camera and paper negatives, Thorne-Thomsen's images remind us of theatrical performances which exercise our imagination and provoke a sense of wonder through experimentation, chance, collage and incongruous juxtapositions. Abandoning intellectual justification, Thorne-Thomsen creates spacial relationships between objects which expand the concept of time, presenting dream-like worlds where heavy objects float in mid air, people are constructed from stones and all sense of reality in suspended. These concepts can be seen in an image of a chair floating above a seascape, frozen in time; a silhouetted profile of a woman constructed out of a spiral seashell; three figures sitting atop Roman columns which balance on the water. Air, earth, water, archways and doors dominate her work, as Thorne-Thomsen asks us to accept relationships between created realities.

Her newest series, "Agua Tierra," continues her fusing of incongruent images. Using the Mexican shoreline as her backdrop, Thorne-Thomsen paints in fictitious rocks, blurring the line between truth and the imagination. A dog sits atop a large boulder in the sea. A small ship passes by a mammoth rock. A swimmer floats through an ominous sea of stones. At first glance everything appears as it should. It isn't until further probing that we realize that our sense of scale is unnerved and we are left to figure out what is real and what is created. "Agua Tierra" expands Thorne-Thomsen's theatrical performances while maintaining her investigation into the collective unconscious. 


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