Classical Varieties: Photographic Prints
Christina Florkowski and Saelon Renkes at Serra House
September 1997

by Demetra Paras

Christina Florkowski, "Oriental Lily," oil paint and pencil on photograph

Christina Florkowski, "Old Roses," oil paint and pencil on photograph
Photographer Christina Florkowski uses her fascination with flowers to explore and capture what she calls their silence and charm. "What can I say? I love flowers."

Florkowski transforms her black and white photogrphic prints with technical expertise using oil colors. Her images maintain a classical integrity which is important to Florkowski.

"Old Roses," oil on gelatin silver print, illuminates two white roses, bathing them in blue green, emulating a seemingly timeless peace. Florkowski interprets each image as a beginning, starting with an "impulse." As the works unfolds, she begins to apply color to the black and white photograph. A more intimate relationship evolves as she works hours bent over the print.

Her use of natural forms provides a refreshing retreat from the highly technological environment we inhabit. The viewer partakes in a quiet respite.

Saelon Renkes, "Monica #1," oils on gelatin silver print

Saelon Renkes, "Nude with Roses #2," oils on gelatin silver print
Saelon Renkes took up photography becasue of her love of the natural world and she has a profound gift for capturing this beauty in a distinct artistic vision to share with the viewer. This series depicts the grace and variety of the human form and is both humorous and provocative.

Images, frozen in time, offer the viewer a slow contemplation of what would otherwise be a fleeting glance of a quickly passing facial expression, or the body in motion. The complex feelings, attitudes and fantasy of the whole can be used upon at leisure in this exhibit.

Renkes says, "I am fascinated by the varieties that we humans come in." She strives to portray this beauty with bodies of all shapes, sizes and ages. She understands that when working with live models, the work becomes a collaboration.

Adding color to the black and white photographs, Renkes can manipulate the images and mood of the work--the color creates sensual interest. In Monica #1, Renkes creates a classic beauty suspended in a timeless gaze.

Demetra Paras is Curator of Art for the Institute for Research on Women and Gender at Stanford University.
She has shown her work throughout California.

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