|artist statemenT and Portfolios
TRIX ROSEN PORTFOLIOS
From the earliest days of my career in art and photography, I have photographed people who bravely break taboos and re-define their cultural and sexual representation. Many of my images embrace the fluidity of gender identity and explore the possibility that we each hold a myriad of alternative selves within us. My portfolios include portraits of breast cancer survivors, female bodybuilders, woman activists, Jewish rituals and historic endangered and abandoned structures. The wide range of my work reflects a life-long desire to make a difference through projects that address vital social justice issues and have a positive and transformative effect on the world.
In the eighteen years that I have been photographing the French performance artist, Fréderic Koenig, we have collaborated on documentary and fictional images that explore non-binary, queer identity. My HE/SHE portfolio reveals the spectrum of Fréd’s sexually ambiguous transformations. In my friendship with Fréd, I found a kindred spirit and a powerful embodiment of the melding of male and female imagery. Enter into ’FAUST’S STUDY’ (1997) a trompe l'oeil painted room, and be confronted by a fearless man who is empowered and transformed by the duality of his sexuality. Or gaze on Fréd in ‘SACRED CORSET’ (2000) as he appears both handsome and beautiful, unselfconsciously daring the viewer to cross over boundaries of imagination and desires. For the installation piece ‘INVISIBLE SCARS,’ (2015) he is handcuffed to the fence, and his figure is representative of the many homosexuals worldwide who have suffered the pain, hatred and abuse that has been inflicted by the ‘powers that be.’ I bound the photograph with wire ties to a fence after cutting slices into the print with a knife and rubbing the surface with dirt and burned charcoal. I re-photographed the image and scarified the aluminum pigment print with chisels, a hammer and melted wax.
The women in THE LADIES ROOM depict a bold and defiant sexiness. Gay, straight, androgynous, transgender and transsexual women define an intimate, authentic and contemporary vision of female beauty.
The BABE DEN is a portfolio documenting the representation of women as witnessed from the early days of the gay rights movement. In 1969 my studio became the meeting place for my friends to explore our femaleness in a safe, private space. There was a determination to break taboos and introduce new images of women that would question the mass cultural representation of the feminine identity.
The profoundly intimate portraits in CHANGED LANDSCAPES depict a woman who dares me to look deeply while exploring the physical and emotional contours of her new form after a double mastectomy. As she contemplates this defining moment of transfiguring change, she is quietly confident and optimistic, able to accept loss, transcend taboos and grow stronger through her experience. Even when bald, breast-less and scarred, she is, in her own eyes and through the lens of my camera, fearless and beautiful, essentially and eternally female.
The girls in 100% PURE HEROINE demand a new kind of female representation in history. With the birth of gay liberation in 1969, we fearlessly took to the New York streets to break taboos both politically and culturally. Questioning the mass cultural representation of feminine identity, I photographed my friends and our unique style of dress and posing. Androgyny became an idealized definition of gender. Sexual role playing tied into sexual politics. By the 80’s Lesbian chic had emerged as a style, blurring the differences between masculinity and femininity.”
WHITE LACE is a glimpse into the intimate world of women: candid pictures taken in those last few hours of preparation, as the dream and fairy-tale event of becoming a bride is realized and witnessed by a private circle of female friends and family.
THE PERSONAL IS POLITICAL is a documentary portfolio with my portraits of female activists who speak out about human rights and social justice.
DIVINE LIGHTgathers images that reflect my Jewish identity and embody my spiritual path. The portfolio includes portraits of women wearing tefillin and questioning biblical texts, photo collages of women in the Bible, and light drawings and collages symbolizing Jewish rituals.
For BET HAYYIM (Houses of the Living), I travelled to the Ukraine to visit Odessa, the birthplace of my father. My trip became an exploration into the history of the once vast community of Eastern European Jews and the relics they had left behind. I viewed the thousands of stones in the Jewish cemeteries throughout the Ukraine as artistic treasures of iconographic beauty and mystery. This odyssey started in Kiev at the ravine in Babi Yar, and took me to the tombs of Rabbi Nachman in Uman and the Ba'al Shem Tov in Medzhybizh, two historic Hasidic pilgrimage sites associated with the Kabbalah. I crisscrossed the heartland, over 2000 kilometers, to visit cities, towns, and shtetls, and to photograph the carved tombstones in cemeteries dating back to the 1400's. The BET HAYYIM have become a portal to discovering my Jewish heritage, and the centuries of life, art and rituals which thrived here.
URBAN ARCHEOLOGY & MODERN RUINS includes images that record the time-worn beauty of architectural landmarks and endangered historic sites and structures. I photographed many of the large format prints while documenting HABS historic preservation projects for the Library of Congress. I am drawn to the timeless nature of historic architecture because it is a repository of collective memories - a record of the builders and the people who once inhabited the spaces. I look to the architectural details, to the deeply etched memories in the walls and structures as a window to the past.
Each light source in my LIGHT DRAWINGS portfolio is composited for it unique color, shape, pattern, wave form and line into an ephemeral space that exists only during its exposure and where it becomes part of a timeless, fluid and visionary reality.
My fascination with THE WORLD OF DOLLS dates back to the gift of a very beautiful doll that my father gave to me when I was about seven-years-old. I didn’t want her, and instead wished for a truck like my elder brother had. I still have it however, and have recently preserved her beauty with a trip to the doll hospital where I photographed some of these images. In fact, many of my women friends have carried one or more dolls with them through their lives.
CHILDHOOD MEMORIES records a biographical moment, measured not as an isolated fragment of time, but suggesting the narrative arc of childhood/ capturing past, recording present and projecting into the future. What haunts me is finding the essence of the visible and invisible timeline that reflects not just the fleetingness of memory, but the evanescence of childhood itself.