Galina Kurlat (b. 1981, Russia) is a photographic artist living in Brooklyn, NY, she earned her BFA in Media Arts from Pratt Institute. Kurlat creates a visual relationship between herself and her subject by embracing the imperfections and possibilities of antiquated photographic processes. Her works undulate between the recognizable and the ephemeral. By accepting the change and chaos inherent in photographic materials Kurlat challenges photography as a historically representational medium.
Kurlat’s work been shown in Korea, India, Scotland, France and the US. Recent exhibitions include “Shadow Play”, Peter Halpert Fine Art in NYC, “Process”, Studio Bizio in Edinburgh, “Touch me Touch you”, Jinju International Photo Festival, South Korea, “Self-Processing- Instant Photography”, Ogden Museum of Southern Art, New Orleans, LA. Her work is collected throughout the US and abroad.
Kurlat has been published in Oxford American, Fraction Magazine, Houston Chronicle, Diffusion IX and Fraction of a Second, Radius Books along with numerous other periodicals and catalogs.
She is the cofounder of Main Street Projects, an artist-run organization in Houston that has hosted over 150 local, national and international artists to date. MSP is an artists’ initiative which brings art into urban surroundings.
During 2005-2011 Kurlat curated a number of multi-media and site specific exhibitions in alternate spaces throughout NYC.
I examine the connection between subject and medium, by embracing the imperfections and possibilities of process-based photography. Using traditional darkroom techniques, including wet collodion, expired Polaroid film, and lumen prints, I address identity, intimacy, and uncertainty. There is a latent spark in analog photographic processes which inspires my practice; experimentation is as essential as the outcome.
My work is an ongoing investigation into the body as vulnerable and ever-changing. The subjects range from figurative portraiture to abstractions made with saliva, hair, and nails. In every iterations, there is a consistent connection to the corporeal. Like flesh, these images change with time, recognizable features fade, and gestures disappear, obscuring identity. Between beauty and decay a truth is revealed ––an ambiguous truth that asks more questions than it answers.
Untitled III, 2013
Release Date: May 14, 2021
Only Here Sometimes
This work defies photography's historical burden as a representational medium by accepting the chance, chaos, and failure inherent to traditional photographic processes.
Only Here Sometimes is a series of large format Polaroid portraits using expired Type 55 film in which the subject sits poised and ready for a photograph. However, due to the nature of the film, many of these images fail to work, leaving only a chemical residue on the film. This trace becomes the final image. The absence of the figure invites the viewer to accept uncertainty and loss as the subject of the work itself.
The desire to push photographic materials beyond their intended use has been a critical part of my practice. Using expired Polaroid film, I allow the negative to degrade over weeks, months, and sometimes years. Chemistry, dust, and time interact with the image, marking the negative, which degrades the information on the film. Much like flesh, the negatives change as they age. As the photograph reaches beyond the representational, the original intention of the portrait becomes secondary.