From September 01, 2022 to September 30, 2022
The hand-folded, burned, and stitched prints in my “Folding and Mending” series are a way of expressing “the world folding in on itself.” We are so focused on our daily tasks and routines that we are neglecting the environment on which our very survival depends. We have created an imbalance in which our world is collapsing. As record storms and wildfires wreak havoc on our forests and communities, our ecosystems are unraveling at an alarming rate. My hand-manipulated photographs allude to the results of our climate crisis. Coastlines erode and submerge as sea levels rise. Trees and forests, stressed from years of drought, succumb to disease and fire. Golden hills crack and crumble. All at the hand of mankind.
While large, complex solutions are needed to fix the damage, there are small things each of us can do to help slow the erosion, clear the air, mend the cracks, and hold our planet together. The stitching in my images is a metaphor for the mending and rebuilding we must do to make our world whole again.
So far in the Anthropocene, we have not proven ourselves to be worthy stewards of our planet. But nature is resilient and our impacts can be reversed. Do we have the resolve to make change happen? Some of the “Folding and Mending” pieces are more deconstructive in nature. Multiple prints are collaged in layers, torn and scorched on the edges. Bits and patches extend beyond the image border, some held in place by threads… as if we dangle at the precipice.
Curator: Christy Karpinski, Founder and editor of F-Stop Magazine
Monterey-based photographer Debra Achen was born and raised near Pittsburgh, PA, where she developed a passion for both nature and art. She majored in Art Education at Edinboro State University before completing her BA in Visual Arts at the University of California, San Diego. She studied a variety of studio arts, including drawing, painting, and printmaking in addition to her training in traditional film and darkroom photography.
Achen’s photographs have been featured in group exhibitions throughout the US and Europe and in curated exhibitions at the Weston Gallery, the Center for Photographic Art, and Carmel Visual Arts Gallery. Her ongoing “Folding and Mending” portfolio has been selected as a Photolucida Critical Mass 2022 finalist and was a 2021 Rfotofolio selection. Images from the series were also featured in the annual “Unbound” exhibition at Candela Gallery, Richmond, VA and in “Center Forward 2022” at the Center for Fine Art Photography.