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Dreams & Visions

Jacob & Sons
Unity within Diversity

May 20-June 19, 2014
Mandel JCC
Cleveland, OH USA
part of Cleveland Jewish Arts and Culture Lab

About the work E-mail


Rachel GordonRead below for a longer take on my work - particularly my photography - that I wrote in the third person.  The condensed version is this:

A central goal of my work is to encourage people to stop and see beauty and levity in the mundane objects and aspects that most of us just don't stop to see and wonder about in our crazy busy lives.  I live in an amazing city that happens to have lots of people moving around it all the time.  A result it an awful lot of things being left behind - some trash, some put out for people to find and take, and some lost or dropped.  It used to stress me out - until one day I saw a coffee cup that had been left in a way that made me laugh.  And that changed everything.  As you will see as you look around the site, my work goes far beyond 'found objects.'  More on that another day.  I appreciate your interest in my work and thank you for stopping by.  Sign up for the newsletter (to the right) to get updates about shows and other exciting things.  Feel free to contact me with any thoughts or questions you might have.  Many of the images are available as prints to purchase.

Have a fabulous day!

Rachel Gordon is a self-taught artist who uses photography as her primary medium. Much of her work is considered street photography. Through her lens, we see the city from the vantage point of the mundane objects that are a part of daily public life.

The focus of much of Gordon's photography is documenting 'found objects' and bringing attention to that which is generally overlooked. Examples include food and beverage containers, shoes, and baby detritus. Often, these objects are so commonplace that we do not see them. This type of filter is, in some ways, a protective mechanism. It keeps us from input overload. It also, however, keeps us from fully engaging with our environment.

Gordon is intrigued by the challenge of finding the beauty, the fun, the story, the wonder in those seemingly uninteresting objects that have been intentionally and unintentionally dropped, lost, placed, left behind, or discarded. Images include liquid in a plastic cup in the sunshine, wedding shoes on a bench, a chair in the middle of the field, a coffee cup in a patch of flowers. There is a dissonance in being forced to see these objects in places we do not ordinarily see them and that they so obviously do not belong. It is not that they are not there as we walk by; we simply have trained ourselves not to see. Gordon's images invite the viewer to stop for a moment and see what is there.

Her process is to not interfere in any way with these objects - they are photographed in their surroundings as they are found. This poses its own set of opportunities and challenges. Often the lighting is not optimal or there are objects surrounding the subject that render the image unusable. Other times the conditions are just right.

The variety of objects that Gordon photographs is large. There is no shortage of potential subjects in a city such as Jerusalem. Jerusalem is a very vibrant city, with an overlap in residential and commercial areas. From morning until night, adults and children are out and about, walking the streets, taking buses, interacting with their environs. By leaving the objects of daily life behind, the residents of Jerusalem become anonymous collaborators in Gordon's work.

Over the 6 years that Gordon has lived in Jerusalem, she has accumulated thousands of images of found objects. To see one image of a single coffee cup is interesting. To see dozens of images of the range of coffee cups in different environments is to grasp the scope of variety within what is usually thought of as ordinary. Her work encourages the viewer to notice our environment in a way that few of us do.

As Gordon is taking these photographs, there is an element of performance to her work. As people walk by, they look for the subject that is so interesting to the photographer that she is kneeling down, moving around, taking shot after shot. By producing a spectacle as she takes her photos, she is inviting a secondary audience, who may never see the photographs, to pause and see the world around them and to see what the photographer sees.

In addition to her solo works, Gordon is a member of Gordon & Gordon Art, a collaborative art team. Over the last 14 years, the team has collaborated on a variety of pieces - durational, site specific, web sites and audience participatory.

Rachel Gordon is originally from Cleveland, Ohio USA. She made aliyah to Israel in 2005. When she is not out photographing coffee cups and other found objects, she works as a free-lance graphic designer and copy-editor. She holds a BA from Oberlin College and an MSSW from the University of Wisconsin-Madison. Her work has been exhibited in the USA, Israel, and Russia.




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