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Anna Strickland
at Tilt Gallery, Phoenix, Arizona
Recommendation by Deborah Ross


Continuing through April 28, 2012


Photographer Anna Strickland's patience and craft reveals itself in this intimate show, with the stand-out piece being a tall scroll bearing several images of various objects. The photographs, some color-tinted, mostly depict stones, shells, leaves and other relics. But all of the objects on the scroll, titled “Given,” are treated as precious offerings, cradled in open hands. One curious addition, in this context, is a small, square image from a recent magazine in which a protesting Tibetan monk has immolated himself. It is as if Strickland wants the viewer to contemplate the spectrum of our universe - all of the gifts we are “given” - from the beauty of nature to the human capacity for self-sacrifice. There is a spiritual tone throughout Strickland’s installation, amplified by Zen-like verses on white paper in front of each; they are weighted down to the floor by smooth gray stones.


Strickland is an installation artist and senior critic in the photography department at the Rhode Island School of Design. She has taught historical photographic processes at workshops throughout the U.S. and Europe, and devotes herself to black-and-white developing processes such as gum bichromate and platinum and palladium printing, both quite arduous techniques. These involve using metallic fibers instead of the more modern emulsion coating, which imbues black-and-white photographs a certain luminosity and a rich tonal range. Strickland’s expert hand with antique processing, along with her photographic subjects, make for an ethereal viewing experience.

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