Tag Archives: fine art

Bathroom Window

Windows have always been a recurring theme in my work. There is something about them that draws me in. I see them as tiny portraits with a soft anonymity. Outside the frame, I usually know nothing about the people who spend their time on the other side of the glass. The audience is left only to make their own judgements, form connections or experience nostalgia in whatever way behooves them.

The image below is of my own bathroom window, taken from inside the home looking out. This is a new perspective for me, most of the time I am on the outside looking in. The irony is, I equate my images of windows as anonymous portraits as I stated above.  Here it becomes a self-portrait. I see myself as the vine, and this is what the movement of my life looks like.

 

Bathroom-Window-Web

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Struggle

I when choose to use myself as subject, I hope to convey a certain vulnerability that resides within the human condition. My self-portraits draw from my own personal experiences, and through an abstract approach I detach from my physical self while maintaining a tone that is emotional and narrative. I believe human emotion is the binding thread of our civilization. If you took everything else away, pain is still pain and love is still love. Someone once told me that, ‘You can’t measure pain. Its relative. We all experience it in our own way.’ Through using my physical self, I strive to use my form as a vessel to convey something beyond the physicality of the body itself.

This is struggle.

 

 

 

 

 

 

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1/2

Getting back in the swing of things…

This self-portrait was taken in my bathroom. Backlit and intentionally blurred to capture a certain ambiguity on the human form. By removing facial recognition, I intend to create an anonymity with the subject and the viewer, hoping the work acts like a reflection of the person in front of it. The idea of one half of something, two parts that make one whole fascinates me. Duality exists in all facets of human experience. I pose as a metaphor for non-binary culture, the figure in the image could be my feminine side or it could be my masculine side. It is simply one half of the human form.

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Tiny Vignettes of Life

In continuation with my series of intimate portraits of plant life, I’ve titled this piece Tiny Vignettes of Life because I feel it is important, especially in the current political climate, to hold onto ones own humanity. This photo could be a tiny vignette into any one person’s day. Maybe while doing laundry on a rainy day in November, the way the light falls on drying plant hanging in a window catches your eye, so you take note. In fact, I was doing laundry, and the light did catch my eye, but it was January in Chicago, and snow had now been replaced by rain, even thunder storms. During a time when climate change is denied,  our education system on the verge of being privatized, the very real possibility of the DAPL being constructed, our civil rights at stake; loving our neighbor and embracing our empathy as intelligent beings has never been more crucial.

In this fast changing world, holding onto the moments that make me feel human have helped manage the stress of what is potentially to come. Cooking a communal meal, observing the light and how it falls on an object, participating in good conversation, watering my plants and reading are rituals of living. What are some of your rituals? What makes you feel human?

I’m interested in what you have to say. Please send stories of your human experience to courtney@courtneypenzato.com.

 

Ting Vignettes of Life

 

 

 

 

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Wilted in Sunlight

This is my first blog post since August, its rather incredible to acknowledge how disconnected I have become to my work. Its intimidating in the sense of not remembering how to begin again. But really, all you have to do is begin. Its a similar feeling when I complete a photo project, afterwards I feel this sense of loss, a void is present for some time. Then I remember to go out and photograph something, anything, it doesn’t matter what it is, and that reassurance is there and I am reminded of why I choose to use a camera as my artistic tool.

Needless to say, 2016 beat me up a bit. I have accomplished a lot of the goals I set for myself; I moved back to Chicago. I didn’t share the ride with anyone. I spent three days in my car alone with my radio, and crossed Illinois state lines on my birthday, which was pretty great. I reached a goal and upgraded my camera equipment. I also grieved with the rest of the world over Standing Rock, a Trump election, Aleppo, ISIS, the most farcical election season of my life, just to name a few, however, I am grateful for the growth and experience this year has offered me. I feel like a wilted plant sitting in a windowsill of sunshine. Beaten, bruised, aged, yet basking in the harsh light of the world.

 

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Scream Silent

Two months without a post, I feel like thats the longest I’ve ever gone. I have been shooting a lot of photographs over the last two months, compiling a body of work for this new direction  I fell into, sort of by accident, which does not surprise me. I’ve fallen into a lot of things, seemingly by accident in my life. I will begin posting the images I’ve been shooting after I complete this post. I have been absolutely loving it. I am ready to take the work to the next step, and I plan on telling you all about it.

Despite my connection to the new body of work, I have felt an immense disconnection to the world in which I inhabit. The state of affairs is frightening and maddening at the same time. It’s devastating and absurd. I want to reach out to fellow human beings and say, “Why are you so fucking angry?” all the while I sit here biting my fingers and furrowing my brow, in disgust at the motivation behind such atrocities. The ignorance behind it all, the willful ignorance is enough to make me vomit. My heart has broke many times as of late. I wake up, and scream silently into my pillow, in hopes to meet catharsis for breakfast, before I go about my day.

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Somewhere Between Earth and Sky

Transition by definition is; the process or a period of changing from one state or condition to another. To think of the process in its totality is rather magnificent. I envision it as if we are catapulted off the earth in the most beautiful arc, and when we finally land on our feet, the transformation has taken place and we have evolved. The period of flying, the scary and challenging part, is what fascinates me most. Flying or floating somewhere between Earth and sky, your stomach in knots, doing summersaults as you soar exhilarated and terrified, trying not to look down. Its hard to see clearly when you’re in the middle of your own rebirth, no matter how large or small, yet the view can be stunning, if we stop, take a breath and take notice.

This how I transform.

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Pedestal

What is ego anyway? The textbook definition says; “A person’s sense of self-esteem or self-importance.” What is self-esteem? What is self-importance? A pedestal of sorts, where we all sit perched. While our ego delegates the day; what to wear, where to go, whats in, whats out, who’s hot and who’s not. She’s a slut and he’s never cried. She must be crazy. His dick must be big. Everyday we make judgements. Everyday we assert some sort of power to make ourselves feel better, usually at the expense of somebody else.

The stench of this trash is so rancid, we no longer remember what it’s like to be nice. Women compete with other women, rather then rally with one another. We have the same parts and we are on the same team yet, we would cut our sister with a knife for a man? I’m not claiming to be a saint. I have done things I’m not proud of. I am not perfect, nor am I better than anyone else. There is however, a sense of real pride that comes from standing on your own. Standing up tall and proud; using your sense of self-esteem and self-importance to perpetuate the greater good.  Patti Smith once said, “In art and dream may you walk with abandon. In life, may you walk with balance and stealth.”

This is my pedestal.

Pedestal

 

 

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How I Fall

I used to have this recurring dream where, I would get catapulted out into space and almost instantly start to descend. Right before I hit the sidewalk, I would wake up. I haven’t had this dream for quite a while. I’m still not sure I ever knew what it meant. The concept of falling; we fall in love, we fall off our bike, we fall for bullshit, we fall short of someone’s expectations. We just fall. People choose to jump off of buildings to end their lives, as dark as that may be, it happens. The feeling of when we physically fall, or fall in love is practically identical. Both exhilarating and terrifying at the same time. Butterflies and nausea all at once. Fear and acceptance.

But when we make the choice to “jump ship”, in whatever metaphorical sense we decide, we always have the choice. It is ours to make. It is a bit like falling, after all, the uncertainty that comes with making a radical change in our lives leaves our tummies turning; the excitement is just as real. We are never sure exactly where we will land, while we fall into place in our lives. It is good, it is hard, its sporadic and it is rewarding in the end. The fear will eventually subside and acceptance of ones fate is allowed room to breathe. When the pain of not changing is exceeded by the pain of actually changing, the change will manifest itself and take shape.

This is how I fall.

How I Fall

 

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