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roswell artist-in-residence program
& the
 roswell museum and art center

present in the Marshall Gallery

Raissa Venables
June 9, - August 22, 2007


C-print 79" x 62" 


Blue Telephone
C-print, 27" X 36"

Green ATM
C-print, 30" X 39"


Little Living Room
C-print,  30" x 78"
Desert Motel Laundry Room
C-print, 48" x 95" 

Red Lobster Room
C-print, 66" x 76"
Trinity Room
C-print, 72" x 76"
Through large-scale images of everyday spaces Venables aims to provoke a visceral interpretation of the ordinary, showing how as we mark the environment, our environment marks us. A space is transformed through use and entropy—a history of usage leaps from the floor of a freight elevator; the bedroom wallpaper’s discoloration and seams create an unnerving pattern. The seemingly inert settings of everyday life are sensual and living places, creating a breathing labyrinth. 

In her skillful, digitally composed images of interiors, she intimately records the history of these places. The result: literal rooms become rooms of the soul. Her photographs tell the story of their inhabitants’ deeds, dreams and nightmares. Without showing us any people, Venables shows us their traces.

At first glance they resemble film stills and the affinity to classics by Alfred Hitchcock, Stanley Kubrick, or David Lynch is evident. Simultaneously there are references to the Early Renaissance Flemish painters, such as Jan van Eyck and Robert Campin. Everything is copied from reality but is reconstructed into surreal images. Using digital image processing Venables manipulates the locations to instrumentalize the room with its emptiness and its many interpretations.

Venables uses a complex technique. When she’s found an interesting location she visits it with her camera and takes pictures from every angle. She then rearranges the frames and composes the picture on the computer. The multiple focal points and large scale of the photographs present a situation as an experience, an encounter, rather than as a window. This process resembles a film sequence.

“Even if we decode Venables’ image language, the contents of her pictures, and the creative process, we are still confronted with the mystery of a psychological room – analogous to a movie, whose staged thrill we can’t escape, although we are able to analyze it.” 

Matthias Harder – Helmut Newton Foundation


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