Friday, November 30, 2012

Hidden Histories

Holly Hardin Clabaugh, is an American artist who is based in Indiana and her work typically is composed of photography with a nostalgic touch. But in her most resent works published in the thirteenth edition of Blue Canvas she has cast off the the cosy nostalgia and decided to show the horror of human nature.

The main theme of the works that are shown in Blue Canvas are of the life of children that was left in tatters due to the Second World War. In some of these works she artistically joins vintage photographs from the holocaust and joins them with photographs of commonly found things like scissors, a pin cushion, and whithered branches. The pictures that she uses from the Holocaust are from the atrocious experiments that Dr. Mengele did to the prisoners of Auschwitz Concentration Camp. At first glance the pieces that she has done are beautiful and perplexing and a little eerie, yet the full intensity does not sink in until the summary of the work is read. Additional knowledge and research also helps solidify the gravety of the subject matter.

 In one work titled "Sterilization Experiment of Dr. Mengele" it shows a woman's torso who has been subjected to a mastectomy and below that a picture of a died birds nest with two broken eggs. There is an immense power in just the fractured bird eggs that illustrate how desperate that women must feel after being experimented on. There are also two works with children, one with a pin cushion acting as the brain with pins in it and the other a little child gasping for a breath and having withered twigs as a set of lungs. When theses works are taking into account along with the actual experimentation that was practiced the full breadth of emotion can be felt by the viewer.

The premise of her work focuses on the heartache war causes and is viewed through the eyes of a child. One of the things that makes these works so strong and compelling in the fact that this has happened no more than 70 years ago. The way that she has also executed the work is very elegent and seems to look at the lives that have had to deal with these curelties through reverance and abmoreation.

To view her works please follow the link

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