In Conversation with Sarah Kaufman and Ales Hlousek
(In)visible Spaces, a two-person exhibition featuring photographs by Ales Hlousek and Sarah Kaufman, winners of ONWARD ’09, opened at Project Basho last month. The exhibition is the first in a series of two-person shows awarded to the winners of ONWARD Compé. Hlousek and Kaufman were chosen by Peter Barberie, Curator of Photographs at the Philadelphia Museum of Art.
Dealing with the opposite realms of public and private spaces, Hlousek and Kaufman’s work seen together offers an interesting visual journey through our inner and outer worlds. Focusing on Toledo, Ohio, Hlousek’s series of large-format color prints addresses issues of urban planning and entertainment in contemporary society, asking us to consider why we so often neglect the places we call home. The work is purposefully dry and objective, but not without implication.
Opposite to Hlousek’s barren, unpopulated landscapes of a diminishing American city, Kaufman brings viewers into the homes of strangers — all of whom are photographed in the nude. There is a striking sense of intimacy in her series, which exposes the otherwise unseen moments of her subjects’ daily lives. Luminous and colorful, Kaufman’s photographs are formally interesting and beautiful. As is also true with Hlousek’s work, minimalism is at play, leaving the photographs open to interpretation.
The meaning of each body of work is, in other words, as much about what we bring to the table as what we are shown. And thankfully so. Whether projecting your own backstory onto one of Hlousek’s empty lots or relating your homelife to one of Kaufman’s subjects’, it’s hard not get lost in these photographs.
Both Ales and Sarah were kind enough to discuss their work with us. You can hear the interviews below. (In)visible Spaces is open through July 29th.