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Photographer Maryam Eisler opened her new exhibition at the Tristan Hoare gallery with a private view. Eilser’s latest photography project which relives Edward Weston and Tina Modotti’s love in their Mexico years.
For her latest collection of photographs, Eisler has re-imagined the passionate love affair between esteemed American photographer Edward Weston and fellow artist, muse and lover, Tina Modotti. They became lovers after she posed for him, then travelling to Mexico in 1923, where they remained for five years.
London-based, Iranian-born Eisler is best known for her dynamic portfolio career in the arts. A photographer, patron, editor and publisher, her many accolades also include membership of the Tate’s International Council, while participating as a co-chair of the Tate’s MENAAC acquisitions committee, the advisory board of Photo London and as a trustee of the Whitechapel Gallery, London.
Folkloric locations and sensual female body – at times more than one – bathed in natural light are the driving force behind Eisler’s oeuvre. While shaping her artistic vision and her overall concept of the human figure within the context of nature, her photographic adventures have taken her to Cuba, Iceland, the US -Santa Fe- and the rugged mountains and rivers of upstate New York.
Recent travails capturing the female form in mythic landscapes or places of historic significance have taken her to the big open skies of New Mexico, the mountains of the Catskills and to Georgia O’Keefe’s Ghost Ranch (where the artist lived and worked from the 1940s until her death in 2012). For her latest pilgrimage, Eisler travelled to one of the ‘spiritual birthplaces’ of American fine art photography in California.
That ‘spiritual motherland’ is Edward Weston’s museum-like home on Wildcat Hill in Carmel Highlands. A pioneer who moved photography as a craft from the pictorial to the modernist, Weston lived here on and off from 1938 until his death in 1958. A lifelong Weston enthusiast, Eisler reached out to the Weston family to request permission to visit.
To her delight, Kim Weston, Edward’s grandson – a fine art photographer in his own right – who runs the house with his wife Gina accepted her request. The cabin has been thoroughly lived in for the last 50 years and yet is very much as Edward left it. Eisler was treated to first-hand stories of Edward Weston and Tina Modotti around a replace.
“And, so I began to re-imagine Edward and Tina’s tumultuous affair, transported by time, space and place”, says Eisler. “It is the passion in their relationship and the role of Tina as muse, but also as a temptress, a collaborator and an instigator which has intrigued me for years. Photographing at Weston’s home, I realised without conscious intent that I was, for the first time, honing in on the body, whilst attempting to extract an essence of the Sublime Feminine through shadow and light, the recurrent theme in my oeuvre.”
“I was intending to present a closer and more intimate view of Woman”, she adds, “to give a visual interpretation of how I imagined Edward looking at Tina, at the height of their passion, all the while travelling a fine line between lust and trust, between the untouchable and the intimate.”
The exhibition runs until 2nd March 2019 at Tristan Hoare Gallery, 6 Fitzroy Square, Kings Cross, London W1T 5HJ.
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