Artist’s Statement – Looking Out vs. Looking In
When Edward Steichen, the then director of MOMA’s photography section, chose John Szarkowski to head the department, one of the early events Szarkowski curated was “Mirrors and Windows” (1978) in which he separated historical photographs into those in which the photographer might be looking through a window from those in which photographs were views as if from a mirror. Although the distinction sometimes was unclear, I have used a similar approach in my practice, often thinking of my works as looking out or looking in. This exhibit is, for the most part, looking out, however, that really is up to the viewer’s interpretation. All but one of the pieces are photographs, many of which are from a series called “Pond Life”. The largest photograph is split into a diptych showing deteriorating vegetation. In parallel to this decaying piece of nature, another work is a view from inside the Denver Airport composed of 36 deconstructed photographic segments that are expanding or contracting. Although this is a decaying man-made structure, it is every bit a part its natural surroundings. The smallest piece is an encaustic painting using a medium that coalesces the intentions of the rest of the pieces, which demonstrate nature, the ultimate teacher of art, in some form or another.
Starting at the age of four with the encouragement of my photographer father, my interest in photography has evolved through three home made conventional darkrooms into digital schemes.
Influencing this development was the 10 years during which I studied the piano, competed locally and regionally in Virginia, and gave several solo recitals, the last of which was in Caball Hall at the University of Virginia. Combining the visual and auditory aspects of the artistic milieu continues to shape many of my works. Integral to my theses is the notion of the fluidity of art and the necessity of the viewer to the overall process.
In the last 15 years my artistic endeavors have lead to multiple solo and juried group shows as well as local, national and international awards (see art section of my blog, http://www.normansoskel.blogspot.com). I have been an ardent participant in international conferences related to encaustic painting and continue to participate in their workshops. After gaining practical acumen I now teach workshops utilizing encaustic, often incorporating photography, serigraphy and other techniques. In order to disseminate this information further I formed a group, BluesWax, for artists with an interest in using encaustic in their works.
My profession was a pulmonologist, having studied at the University of Virginia, Yale University Affiliate, and University of Utah where I taught and did research on elastin’s relationship to emphysema. That work was continued at the University of Tennessee in Memphis, TN until entering private practice in 1992. My medical accomplishments can be found in the medical section of my blog (see above). In February 2013 I retired from the practice of medicine and currently spend most of my time practicing various art forms including photography, serigraphy, and encaustic painting in addition to perfecting my piano technique. Many of the pieces I produce use photography as a basis.
My artwork may be viewed at www.normansoskel.com and I can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.