Artist Emily Margarit Mason creates staged, surreal photographs that translate the physical world from something seen to something felt.
Santa Fe, NM | emilymargarit.com | @emilymargaritmason
After dreaming, I often wake up only with half-remembered snatches of the action that took place. The feeling of walking down a dark hallway, an impression of color or light, a single sentence that was uttered. The substance itself can be difficult to remember, to truly hold on to. But still, for many of us, dream images are something exact and full of meaning. As obscurely as they surface and sit with us, they materialize by no mistake.
The work of Emily Margarit Mason seems to me like pieces of dreams pulled from that otherworld. Yet, they are photographs—the medium that is so often supposed to be objective. Mason’s photographs are of staged, sculptural sets made from found objects and reconstructed photographs. They are surreal. Panes of glass bend, reflecting cracked earth. A sunset withers and wrinkles like a discarded sheet of paper. Shadows create structures that seem inhabited; a single datura blossom explodes in a shock of white. Objects are barely recognizable, just short of definite.
But that is not to say they are not truthful. This sort of confused truth-telling actually sets us up to investigate our own definition of the word. Mason translates the physical world from something seen to something felt, like a dream rich with veracity. In so doing, she strikes at the manifold nature of experience—building upon visual scenes to simultaneously conjure sensation, memory, emotion. Which is, in fact, quite an accurate representation of experience.