Because my nature-loving parents have been nagging me to go hiking with them for years, I think they’d be happy to hear that works by Kentucky born artist John Folsom have finally convinced me to explore the great outdoors. After graduating from Southern Illinois University in 1990 with his BFA in Cinema and Photography, Folsom works to blur the lines between painting and photography. Literally. His unique technique incorporates the layering (and subtraction) of oil paint on his digital, soft focused photographs. Finally, he seals his synthesis of media with wax.
But his work is interesting for reasons other than his experimental method; Folsom’s depictions of forests and riverbeds have an antique aspect that follows a long tradition of art inspired by overgrown and untouched landscapes. However, Folsom differs from these former depictions of low country landscapes because of the way that his work evokes a special mood: a melancholic–yet pleasant–nostalgia within us. It is one that seduces the viewer into a rarely explored solitude where s/he can reflect on dreams and memories. He admits that his work is more about a place in his head, rather than a place that anyone could actually visit. He successful breaks away from the documentary-like quality that is innate to photography—a rare accomplishment.
A compelling juxtaposition exists between the black tree branches that frame his composition and the mystical light that seems to glow from within. Folsom’s manipulation of light and shadow creates an attractive duality between the muted, musty light, and the wild, bold limbs. Folsom’s work inspires viewers to contemplate the place that he created in his mind while also encouraging them to reflect upon the places that they’ve created in theirs. As a new artist that Tinney Contemporary is more than excited to represent, we encourage you to check out more of Folsm’s dream-like work here.