People Will Talk
Photography by Mark Wickum
April 3rd - 26th, 2009
Painted Interpretations by Chris Haberman.
About the Show
“A single photograph can tell many stories. The photographer–who either captures a moment or manufactures one–has one story, and each person who sees that photo has their own. Some of these stories are true, and some of them are better than the truth.
These photographs were made with the truth in mind. These are authentic moments. These paintings were made with as little knowledge of that truth as possible. The painter was free to tell his stories, unburdened by the photographer’s stories. A photo, a title, and a few points where the lives of the painter and the photographer’s subjects intersect–this is the inspiration and the interpretation. Fiction and non-fiction. Pictures speaking in pictures. People will talk.”
~ Mark Wickum
” Interpreting someone else’s work is a careful procedure. The mere act of collaboration removes each artist’s ego a bit. With this unique collaboration – working from different mediums, with little knowledge of the subjects, was a difficult but growing experience for me as an artist. The gestures of the people and the colors of the photos instantly struck me as painterly works created with sincerity, vision and forethought. The personal nature and sensitivity of Mark Wickum’s photos is truly the essence of “People Will Talk.” Our mission for this show is really about conversation, spoken and unspoken. The paintings and photos of people, with words around them (gestures of private moments, vast colorfields surrounding a distinct figure, small smiles, childlike innocences, and grandfatherly wisdom) all create a body of conversations between many types of people.
My act of redefining these stark works was purposely based upon my ignorance of its subjects. I know there are many “true” stories in these photos, but I don’t really know them.
With almost no subject history, I approached these photos as beautiful cast images of color, candid pictures of frozen intimate strangers to redefine in my style, creating in an honest but playful fiction. I made these folks my own, keeping the color base backgrounds consistent while interjecting thoughts and culture upon them, trying to understand them, while retaining a bit of fact within the fiction. I tried to stay true to Mark’s works, his friends and relatives, as they talked to me too (as People Will Talk), creating subconscious dialogues, funny situations, moments of compassion- all reflecting these often too brief, but always beautiful instances of everyday life.”
~ Chris Haberman
About the Artists
Mark Wickum has been taking photographs of friends and family for the past few years in an effort to make some poetry out of the candid snapshot. Before picking up a camera, he just found himself staring at people a lot…and wishing he owned a camera. He avoids flashes, studios, posed shots and comparisons with better photographers. He invites flaws, mistakes, questions and authentic moments. These are his pictures, but you get to make up the stories.
Chris Haberman is a local painter, writer, curator, and musician. At first glance, Haberman’s friendly, colorful painting style downplays some of the real world subject matter that drives the work, but on a closer reading of the words, the paintings swell with meaning and depth, revealing the hidden subtext, humor, innocence, cruelty and dirty thoughts that permeate our human existence.
Listen to Chris talk about making work, showing, curating, and the future of Portland’s emerging scene with Eva Lake on Art Focus (KBOO 90.7 fm) LISTEN HERE
check back for more info and images soon!
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People Will Talk email card