05 March 2012

Artist Crush: Melissa Ann Pinney

I find that working in an art museum, being friends with artists, and dating an artist, result in me having a lot of crushes on artists (see: Miranda July, Curtis Mann, Ken Fandell, Spencer Sharp, etc.) What's more cumbersome than having this many crushes is keeping track of the work that I come across. It seems that every single day I'm discovering another person's work, changing my desktop background, and fantasizing about how I would furnish my dream home with work by so many amazing people. Yes, I would definitely hang a Jeff Wall in my living room, and hang a Warhol in my bathroom.

Bat Mitzvah Dance, Knickerbocker Hotel, (1991/2003)

Lately, I've really been crushing on the work of local photographer Melissa Ann Pinney. I stumbled upon her photographs when looking for images in our database having to do with the search terms "party" & "celebration". Don't ask, it's a long story. I was initially taken with Pinney's work for the color and time period. The film quality and color, as well as the attire of her subjects act as signifiers that date the work, correlating them within a time period that I relate to; the early 90's to present day. Pictures of people at parties and costume contests wearing big glasses and lots of blush not only look fun and fabulous, but give me a personal sense of nostalgia that sets me at ease.

cellar door series

Of the work that I've seen by Pinney, my favorite is a series which spans over a decade, of photographs of her daughter Emma standing perching upon the cellar of their home, titled the Cellar Door Series. I initially like these works for the composition, color and form - but upon discovering that they were serial, I couldn't help but love them more. These photographs are presented as a candid documentation of a girl becoming a woman, coming to terms with her identity through tropes such as style, posture, and pose. There is something so forward and incredibly stunning about these, watching a child mature with each click of the shutter.
Emma at Nine (Cellar Door), 2004 via source
Emma at Ten (Cellar Door), 2005 via source

Melissa Ann Pinney recently compiled and published a book of photographs that was released last month, titled Girl Ascending. Find it here!

1 comment :

  1. I had her as a teacher for a semester and it was so wonderful! She is great.