Deborah Samuel’s ARTIFACT explores the narrative of transformation. While the individual images remain static, the photographs evolve in an almost cinematic manner when the viewer moves. Viewed collectively and at a distance, the twelve 20 × 24 inch carbon pigment prints produce a planetary effect, one evoking ancient human cultures and mysterious celestial constructions. As the viewer gets closer, the images resolve into their essential materials: earthy, mineral matter within stone forms, ashes, and water. Ambiguous in scale, and sensual in tonality and texture, the stillness of the compositions in black and white renders these abstractions serenely minimalist. Installed on the first floor of the Gardiner Museum, the works are presented as a typological series, a continuous wall.
Born in Vancouver, Samuel studied photography at Sheridan College. Her fashion photography and celebrity portraits have appeared in GQ, Rolling Stone, Esquire, Spin, and Entertainment Weekly. Her photographs are part of the collections of the Royal Ontario Museum, Winnipeg Art Gallery, and Santa Barbara Museum of Art, as well as numerous private and corporate collections. Samuel’s recent work captures the beauty and mysteries of the natural world. She currently lives in Santa Fe, New Mexico.