JANET MILHOMME Photography  

"Vanishing Oasis: The Crisis at the Salton Sea"

As we witness the rapid deterioration of our ecosystems, the ecological disaster slowly unfolding at the Salton Sea goes beyond the isolated situation of a dying lake and becomes the canary in the cave relative to the problems of water scarcity, pollution and overdevelopment facing California, if not most of the western U.S. “Vanishing Oasis” is a series of conceptual images highlighting the current crisis and warning of those to come.  Viewed from afar, the sea glistens with a startling blue outlined by a pure white shore.  In reality the blue is a false curtain reflecting the sky, concealing a toxic brown stew edged by false shorelines of fragile salt mats and fish skeletons.   The odor of decay swirls above the mud and blends with the dust, belying the sea’s beauty and mystery, a cool mirage slowly vanishing beneath the unrelenting desert sun.

 

"Edges of Memory"

Images in the "Edges of Memory" portfolio are composites created through the digital layering and piecing together of multiple images and altering color, contrast, exposure and other elements in order to give added depth and meaning to the final image.

“Edges of Memory” concerns itself not with things as they are but with how we remember them—memory as an altered reality, surreal and dreamlike.  Memories are the shadows and forms that remain as the details of past experiences fade with time.  Reality gives way to illusion and authentic places become imbued with the intangible emotions and impressions evoked by them, thus giving them a discrete presence in our minds.  Many of the images are symbolic of the journeys and passages we undertake in our lifetimes, and of the passage of time and the deterioration of both memory and matter.

The images vary in size but are all printed with pigment inks on rag paper.  Individual prints are embellished with ink, pencil and pastel.

 

"Boxed-In"

Works from the “Boxed-In” series draw attention to several elements of contemporary life, including our “exposed” lives as a result of technology and social media, and the fractured nature of modern life that places us in emotional and psychological “glass houses.”

We live in an age of instant communication—and instant entrapment.  At one time, people had limited access to our different “selves,” but today social media bares all the elements of our lives to the eyes of others, creating both an exposed and voyeuristic society that conversely limits and inhibits our personal freedom.  Therefore, in spite of the illusion of freedom, we are “boxed-in” by walls constructed of the invisible constraints of our overexposed, media-driven lives.

The works vary in size but are all digital collages printed with pigment inks on paper, hand cut and mounted in layers on mat board.

The images vary in size but are all printed with pigment inks on paper.  The prints are then mounted on foam core, layered and hand-cut to create 3-D works.

 

"Chimera"

The "Chimera”  portfolio makes use of the forms and distortions present in our natural world and explores the ways in which people project their interpretations upon them.  Definitions of “chimera” include “an imaginary monster whose body is a grotesque combination of mismatched animal parts” as well as “an organism with at least two genetically different tissues resulting from mutation, grafting, or the insertion of foreign cells into an embryo.”  These definitions reflect the process by which the “Chimera” images are created—by digitally combining two or more (often quite different) images to create a composite image that is a peculiar creature of its own.  The process of layering exposes and enhances the lines, shapes and forms occurring naturally on the surfaces of rocks, trees, water and soil.  These natural textures become the figures and faces the human mind “sees.”  Reality becomes illusion as we project the monsters of our nightmares or the surreal characters of our dreams onto the natural world around us.

The images vary in size but are all printed with pigment inks on rag paper.

 

"Yellowstone: Fire and Water"

In the portfolio titled “Yellowstone: Fire and Water,” I am exploring the concept of perceptual reorientation.  Each image is taken from the natural environment of Yellowstone National Park but there is a deliberate ambiguity about the actual subject of the photograph.  By creating a montage of forms, colors and textures, I am seeking to produce composite photographic images that are evocative rather than descriptive.  Through sensation and illusion, I’m inviting viewers to bring their vision, perception and interpretation to the work, thereby making it their own.

The works vary in size but are all printed with pigment inks on canvas and are embellished with acrylic paint, ink, sand, and gold, copper and silver leaf.

 

"A MOMENT OF BEAUTY"

The portfolio “A Moment of Beauty” was the inspiration for the title of my current solo exhibit: In This Moment…. 

Since the first camera photograph (View from the Window at Le Gras) was taken by Joseph Nicéphore Niépce in the mid-1820s, the one constant element in photography has been its ability to capture a fleeting moment in time and render it eternal and indestructible. 

Flowers are unique in their fragility and transient beauty, and this has always attracted the attention of photographers and artists eager to arrest or otherwise portray an ephemeral, irrecoverable moment. 

I have created many images of flowers in their riot of colors, but in this series I have subdued color to allow the splendor of the flowers’ simplicity and symmetry of form to come forward and also to create a pensive mood that encourages contemplation. Throughout the ages, people have adorned their homes with pictures and paintings of flowers, thus bringing nature indoors and its capacity to sooth our restless souls.