18 Random Postcards: These Lights and Shades

Between 2010 and 2012, I made 226 photographs under a project I called “These Lights and Shades.” I took inspiration from the lines of a Walt Whitman poem, “These lights and shades, this drama of the whole, This common curtain of the face contain’d in me for me, in you for you, in each for each,… This heart’s geography’s map…” One of Whitman’s last poems, he wrote it upon seeing a portrait of himself by the English illustrator William J. Linton. Though not Whitman’s intended meaning, I’ve always preferred to read “Out from Behind This Mask” as a poem about two former lovers passing in the street. On seeing each other, they remember the lifetime they shared. Passion flashes between them and then memories and then they move on.

The moment stirred by Whitman’s poem is akin to those moments when I want to take a picture. Some bold colors, an interesting composition, texture, light, mood…all these things come together and I pull out my camera and take a shot or two. This is not as much art making as it is visual journaling. It is a way to move through the world, to acknowledge a moment, and to move on through the day.

The original pack of 18 postcards.

As an affordable art product, I printed these photographs as postcards and put them into packs of 18. The brown envelopes had a white sticker on the front and one of the postcards on the back. I’d always select one of the better images for the outside of the package.

These were sold at various fairs and pop-ups and though ARTSHOP. In 2013, when I started doing INSTANT ARTSHOP, a version of the ARTSHOP project as an intervention outside of an art context, I took 18 Random Postcards to flea markets, grocery stores, malls, and other public spaces that are separate from contemporary art spaces. Each pack of postcards contained a random selection. Because it was impossible to collect all of them and because people never knew what was inside the envelope, the act of selling led to some great conversation. The purchaser needed to perform a leap of faith to commit. Many did.

Manifestation

The Complete Set

The complete set of 226 postcards.

This collection of 226 photographs is the complete set of postcards. Only five complete sets have been made. The Complete Set of 18 Random Postcards is available at ARTSHOP here.

Exhibition

Postcards manifested as a grid.

Each postcard is 5.5″x5.5″. The full set of 226 photographs exhibits in a grid that is 105″x105″ or in a long presentation that is 35″x315″, 26 linear feet.

Single Random Postcards & Packs of 18 Random Postcards

Packs of 18 Random Postcards are available at ARTSHOP here. If you would like a single postcard sent to you (for free), send an email with your complete mailing address.

What Will Be of Us

“What Will Be of Us” is a continuation of the series, “I Keep Myself Together“, in which Kadour pairs photographs with texts to evoke a response in the viewer. “I am interested in the isolation of contemporary life and the sometimes intense personal drama that plays out without anyone really knowing. When I watch people, I often make up stories in my head about them. The titles of the photographs are snippets of those stories; moments of dialogue in a full work of theatre. By presenting the images in a circle, I hope to convey to the viewer the sense that they are peeking into a world or looking through a spyglass,” wrote Kadour in 2013. In working this way, Kadour taps into the tradition of text-based works expressed by Lawrence Weiner and Martin Firrell and the text/image collage work of Barbara Kruger.

MANIFESTATION

Exhibition

“What Will Be of Us” is intended to be exhibited as a grid that alternates texts and images.

Individual prints are 12″x12″ in 12.5″x12.5″ frames. Edition of 3. INQUIRE TO PURCHASE

Zine: What Will Be of Us

This zine, What Will Be of Us, shows the text with matching images in book form. Details: 36 pages | 7”x5” | saddle-stitched booklet | 2016 | ISBN: 978-1-927587-20-1 | AVAILABLE HERE

 

 

 

My Junk Taste Like Flowers

In early 2012, I had been thinking about objects and particularly why objects matter and why we collect the stuff we do. Around that time, I interviewed Katharine Mulherin at her gallery on Queen West in Toronto. I learned we share an interest in collecting seemingly random objects, things that are not quite art, not really design, but objects from the past whose shape, form, or colour appeals to our senses or the moment. I think of these objects as artifacts of someone else’s personal history that I appropriate into the grand narrative of an unwritten memoir. My partners call these objects junk.

I asked Katharine why she collects the things she does. “Oh, I don’t know,” she responded initially and then paused and said, “Joy. I collect things because they bring me joy.”

The series “My Junk Taste Like Flowers” is both a documentation of objects and an expression of joy about them. This series is photographs of sculptures made with my junk which are then venerated with flowers. Arranging my junk was like restacking and reordering memories. The whole was other than the sum of its parts.

MANIFESTATION

“My Junk Taste Like Flowers” is manifested as an installation, a series of colour instant photographs, and an artist book.

Altar to My Junk

Altar to My Junk is a variable installation of found and plaster objects with silk flowers on a raised surface. About Altar Making

Altar to My Junk

COLOUR INSTANT PHOTOGRAPHS

I documented each of these sculptures using a Polaroid 360 Land Camera and Fujifilm FP-100c to make a colour instant photograph in editions of three, except for the titular piece, My Junk Taste Like Flowers, which is an edition of 100 and released as an artist book.

AVAILABLE HERE

ARTIST BOOK

Object & Joy

A booklet containing the essay “Object & Joy: My Junk Taste Like Flowers” and images of photographs from the series.

and

My Junk Taste Like Flowers 
by Ric Kasini Kadour
4.25” x 3.25”
colour instant photograph
2013

edition of 100

AVAILABLE HERE

EXHIBITION HISTORY

Galerie Maison Kasini, February & March 2013

 

Boring

Artist Statement

“Boring” represented an important stage in my evolution from painter to photographer to artist who works to put images on paper. For those interested in artistic development and technique, I offer the following four observations:

I continue to be influenced by photographers Michael Meads and Nan Goldin. Where my earlier work, such as “M Series” (2003), combined social documentary and creative portraiture to explore an individual persona, “Boring” is broader and attempts to explore interpersonal dynamics and scene.

“Boring” also represents a development of technique. The photographs in “Speed of Light” (2005) employ the visual strategies of abstract painting to manifest images of light and color where the kinetic interplay offers the viewer a sense of emotionality. “Boring” represents an application of those strategies to work with a definitive subject and narrative.

“Boring” is the most personal work I have produced to date. While it is not the first time I have turned the camera on my private life–I often take photographs of friends, lovers, and partners in various states of partying and play–it is the first time I have considered such work strong enough to have meaning to those not immediately attached to it. As such, a personal statement is included.

By nature, I am not a collaborator. While I value critical feedback of others, I prefer working alone, controlling a project, and ultimately being responsible for its successes and failures. But without intending to do so on their part, this work is significantly informed by the art and aesthetic of Danny Buchanan, whose nonlinear narrative collage paintings appear in some of the photographs, and Pet Shop Boys, whose lyrics provided me a vernacular with which to tell a story.

Personal Statement

boring
14.09.05-16.09.05

I hadn’t met Danny in person before, but we talked a lot over a few months and found we had art and a mutual attraction in common.

You have to meet Danny to understand him. He is full of contradictions: part art mafiosi, part redneck; a butch fashionista; and, perhaps, the most sensitive guy’s guy I’ve ever met. He has an incredible sense of aesthetic, a yearn for beautiful things, an unbending view of the world, a rich passion and spirit.

Danny had a few days off. I was looking for something. He invited me to Toronto for a few days to hang out. On my second night, we went to the Drake Hotel for a concert and art/film party. Afterwards, we made our way to Boystown and met up with Adam and Brent. The bars close early in Toronto. The four of us ended up at Danny’s where we were joined by two women who talked a lot but didn’t stay long.

I snapped pictures while we drank beer and smoked and listened to Adam’s stories of cum-stained blue cardigans and getting gay bashed with a napkin. Danny hovered around getting up every few minutes to DJ.

With the women gone, the boys got into me taking pictures. Danny pulled out a bunch of clothes. Adam took off his pants and put on this flannel grey coat. Brent found a muscle shirt he liked and put that on, then he and Danny argued who looked better in it. The rest is in the pictures.

On the drive back to Montreal, I felt like I had spent a few days in a Pet Shop Boys song: cabbing around the city making the scenes, having short sharp cell phone calls to coordinate the effort, seeing and being seen, friends arguing with friends, small talk, getting sized up, making contact, and a complicated set of love-lust emotions for Danny. It seemed right to title the photographs with quotes from their lyrics.

PRINTS

FOLIO

The thirty-four page folio contains twenty-five images plus personal and artist statements and title pages. Each image is 4″x4″ on 5″x7″ paper. The folio is presented loose in a navy-coloured box. The edition is limited to one hundred and each folio is numbered, signed, and contains a certificate. The folio was published in 2005.

EXHIBITION HISTORY

November 2005, Second Floor (Toronto)
January 2006, Kasini House Gallery-at-Large (Montreal)

I Keep Myself Together

“I Keep Myself Together” is a series of 10 photographs that contrast urban isolation and natural beauty.

New York is advanced urban life. One of the great things about New Yorkers is that they move through the city unaware or unconcerned that other people will see them. This obliviousness or indifference marries with an air of intention. New Yorkers on the street are always going somewhere. What passes for rudeness is often an exigency to keep moving and to keep other people moving, particularly if that other person was in their way. I like to watch people and one day while waiting for someone on a street corner, I began to notice how consumed people were with themselves. Many were on their phones. Many more were in a bubble of music, driven into their heads by earbuds. I wanted to capture the people I was watching.

I have been shooting natural scenes for years. One of the things I try to do is find a focal point and to allow for as much blur as possible in the image while keeping the subject in focus. I applied this approach to photographing people. Like trees and flowers, New Yorkers are unaware of a man with a camera. I stood on street corners for hours, invisible while I took pictures.

I am interested in the isolation of contemporary life and the sometimes intense personal drama that plays out without anyone really knowing. When I watch people, I often make up stories in my head about them. The titles of the photographs are snippets of those stories; moments of dialogue in a full work of theatre. By presenting the images in a circle, I hope to convey to the viewer the sense that they are peeking into a world or looking through a spyglass.

CATALOG

I Keep Myself Together Catalog

Day & Night

Day & Night

These photographs reflect my interest in abstraction and particularly, the abstracted landscape. In these “Day” photographs, wanted to push the edge of whiteness and blur. I also wanted to capture fields of color. In the “Night” photographs, I wanted to go back to darkness and apply what I learned by taking pictures during the day.

My previous series, “Speed of Light” (2005), “Boring” (2006), and “More Speed of Light” (2008), were all largely shot at night. In May 2007, during a car trip to a wedding in Virginia, I found myself, as I usually do on long car rides, taking photographs as we sped down the road. Wanting to recreate the same blurry, abstract effect during the day time, I began exploring over exposure and unfocusing. Over the past few months, I refined this approach and the seven “Day” photographs show a range of work.

Day

There’s a way where there’s a will
You know I got no need for stairs
Step out on the window sill
Fall with me into the air

Daytime bores me. People are working. Because I am a night person, I tend to sleep away most of the morning. I wake up a lunch time. I work a little. I eat lunch. I wait for one of my lovers to come home or get out of class. Day is a time for waiting.

I tend to take photographs during the day when I find myself awake and out and bored: at a BBQ with friends, in the car on a road trip, and even, ironically, at a daytime rave that takes place on Sundays during the summer in Montreal. I take pictures to fill the time, to busy myself till night comes and I feel awake and alive again.

I don’t understand people who wake up early in the morning to take the day. There is no romance in the morning, no sense of urgency, no risk. There is no light when everything is light.

Night

So, here we go, hold on tight and don’t let go
I won’t ever let you fall
I love the night, flying o’er these city lights
But I love you most of all 

I love the night. I love how darkness soothes the city to quiet. People disappear and I am alone, uninhibited, and free to roam.

I also like to shoot at night. It is easier to add light than to take it away. Light itself becomes a subject, the actor in the photographs. Colors become moody. Things look better at night. Darkness has a way of obscuring the dark and dingy. I would rather walk down an alley and see stacks of smashed cardboard and piles of black garbage bags than seen perfectly manicured sidewalks bursting with potted flowers.

The night promises sex and mystery and danger. We give ourselves permission to do things in the dark we would not during daylight hours. At night, we hold our lovers a little tighter. At night, we dream.

CATALOG AVAILABLE HERE

Lyrics are from “A Song For Milly Michaelson” by Thrice.

Instant Colour Photographs

I use a Polaroid 360 Land Camera and Fujifilm FP-100c to make a instant colour photographs.

AVAILABLE HERE

Sometimes these are one-offs made for INSTANT ARTSHOP. Other times they are studies for projects, particularly when I am experimenting with blur.

Others are made for a specific project, such as My Junk Taste Like Flowers, and the focus is on creating multiples. To make multiple copies of an instant colour photograph, one has to hold the camera in place and pull the photograph at exactly the same time. This works great in the studio…most of the time, but can be challenging outdoors where the most I’ve gotten is three before giving up.

When we shot 100 copies of My Junk Taste Like Flowers, two of us worked to shoot, time, and pull the photographs. But with the lights in the room and two bodies, the temperature changed which affected the pull time as we progressed through the shoot. The entire exercise was an interesting challenge, but not one I feel like I need to repeat.

My favorite subject to shoot with this method is the sky because the blues are rich and variable.

Instant Colour Photographs are available in ARTSHOP.