Paula Siwek Artist Statement

My approach to photography comes from the various styles and practices of

teachers and peers, influences from my family of writers and movie-makers, and a

strong curiosity about the "otherness" of reality; my escape from a volatile home.

I imagined other realities like those painted by the Impressionists, not as in movies

or writing but in photography. My father who photographed his travels, bought me

my first camera.  In college I  photographed at night, learned how to set up the

camera and manipulating motion with timed exposures. subject blur,

juxtaposing motion and

clarity –had fun in the night time  Back home the 1980's in I spent years doing street

photography and created Homeboy while in graduate school at Pratt Institute, a

series of portraits and street scenes around the surrounding neighborhoods. The 

street photographs  the Initiation Series photographs where I combined


figures with mixed media and text layered in the darkroom, image transfer and

collage related to ancient Dionysian cults specifically, the Villa of Mysteries. From a

single photographic statement, expanded the image in both Initiation Series, added

shape & multiple photographs into larger sized works, expanding out of the image

borders and into diptych. The clothed female figures, as the shadows, are in various

stages of change; memory, a psychological, sexual, emotional, spiritual observations

using foreground and background. Made in Brooklyn evolved into a

sponsored by a neighborhood theatre company, projecting 150 of the

images in sequence with the performance of a scared-straight poem, “Letter in Lady

Day Spring Tones,” delivered by ex-convicts. In my most recent project, Water, I

return to my earliest phase of photo- making. Using varied time exposures and

color film, I once again document the female figure. Now underwater, her form is

submerged, in blue pools with unpredictable results.