Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Deborah Stratman (Monday Night Artist Lecture)

"The more you desire safety the more there is to fear"

Deborah Stratman is an instructor at University of Illinois at Chicago. She has a bright personality, wore a colorful rainbow shirt and is an entertaining storyteller. She makes dark artwork...

She works in the themes of time, film, photography, sound, music, fear, authority, fraud, communication, surveillance and more that I likely missed. A majority of her artistic career was spent making films. About 15 years in she began working with installations and photography. Stratman has created sound environment installations, transmit towers for communicating, dead paper mache horses used for surveillance. Each project is expansive, detailed and engages the viewer who becomes apart of the piece.

An obsession with photographing parking attendant boots at night lead to the creation of her own migratory parking attendant booth. They are structures humble in design but commanding in authority. She placed the booth in various locations and had many stories to tell. Someone moved into a booth and began collecting money out of it. The booth was tagged by graffiti and with the authority the structure commands it was repainted by an official!

She is seeking to create a database of fears and has setup a phone line (800.585.1078) where people can call to confess. Examples she gave were malls, death, snakes, being sober, spiders, ignorance, seeing someone for the last time, sustaining a blow to the head and suffering amnesia, hot lights and being an example to a son. This is a work in progress.

But Stratman has her foundation in short film. They are hypnotic, often with long shots, repetitive scenes and audio, and distorted visuals. Her mastery of theses elements make her films unique and fascinating.

Jeremy Wenrich

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