Saturday, June 16, 2012

Martin Weber and a Visit to the Artist's Studio

The opportunity to visit an artist’s studio – or in this case, the artist’s apartment – is truly unique.  The way one usually experiences the work of an artist is on the walls of a gallery or museum; however, when visiting with an artist on a more personal level, one is privileged to relate more closely with the artist and his/her work.  In the case of Martin Weber, the personal experience of sitting around his viewing table as casually listening and looking on as he flipped through his prints was all too appropriate.  Given the personal nature of his subject matter, the personal setting of his apartment was a wonderful place to experience his photographs.  Spending most of our time flipping through boxes of prints from a project called A Map of Latin American Dreams, we got a detailed account of the subjects in each of the images.  Martin’s project explores the goals and desires of his sitters, the intimate and personal desires of people we do not even know.  What is interesting is, after hearing Weber tell us what each blackboard scribbled dream and desire said, he would give a little anecdote about his experience photographing.  This gave the project a whole other layer that allowed for us, the viewers, to feel slightly connected to the people in the photograph, regardless of the cultural differences or the fact that we have never and probably will never meet those people ever.  The thread that ties us to them and them to one another, though, is their desires – the fact that we all have goals and dreams that we wish to be fulfilled.  Some are simpler than others but we have them all the same and that link connects us in a way they would not be possible without Martin’s work. 
The second body of work that I chose to focus on, was titled, Momentos.  This project drew inspiration from the artist’s Argentine background and history.  It deals predominantly with an allusion to the past – a nostalgic recollection of a different time.  Martin incorporates preexisting photos and images that allude to what the artist describes as, “the ingenuity and tenderness, power and cruelty, fear and solemnity that accompanied a slew of memories and signs that filled my childhood.”  The photographs comment on memory and the some things are carried with us for our entire lives, from the time of childhood.  The series is politically charged and deals with themes of some of Argentina’s darker history.  I am no authority, but – from what I can tell – there is something genuinely Argentine about this body of work that allows for the photos to seem like snapshots from a different time.  Martin’s work is very emotional and successfully conveys all of that emotion through the care and attention to technical detail in his prints. 

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