Terra obscura is a Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 Project

October 08, 2023

Very pleased that my latest project Terra obscura got selected as a Photolucida Critical Mass Top 50 series. https://www.photolucida.org/top-50/claudia-ruiz-gustafson. This project was completed at my residence at the Center for Photography at Woodstock in 2022.

Grateful for these generous comments from the jurors:

“Clean and striking when it needs to be to immediately communicate the message. And the message is quite clear without going overboard. I find images 8 and 9 to be quite daring—taking on two of the pillars of photographic history is quite brave. And welcomed very much. Thank you for submitting. Beautiful work. I look forward to seeing what else you make.”

“Your work demonstrates a remarkable talent for constructing layered and complex visual images, working with photography in novel ways. As you continue to evolve as an artist, I encourage you to embrace even bolder experimentation. It's through pushing the boundaries of photography that you can often discover the most remarkable and innovative forms of artistic expression. I'm excited to see how your work will evolve as you explore synergies with other creative practices, such as drawing, collage, and printmaking. These interdisciplinary connections have the potential to take your art to new and exciting heights. Please know that your contributions to the world of art and culture are highly valued, and I look forward to witnessing your continued growth and success as an artist.”

“These works combine fine calibrations and aggressive collisions, and -- powerfully -- not just of visual elements but of meanings, histories, and representations. I've long been a fan of Robert Heinecken, an influential artist and educator in Los Angeles where I live. Here is one of Heinecken's comments: "I am interested in what I term gestalts; picture circumstances which bring together disparate images or ideas so as to form new meanings and new configurations." As you state in your narrative, the camera was another weapon in the wars of domination. It seems appropriate to take these images and turn them into shouts for liberation because, in our age, whoever controls the images controls the culture.”

“Love the anthropological feel and the combination of ingredients here. This makes me feel like I've been given access to your entire process. I think this would be an incredible book and exhibition.”

“Collage can be a difficult thing. You present interesting work as I learn alot about you as a person. Issues close to the heart are important to present and to create awareness to others of these issues.”

“You are dealing with important issues. And of course they are huge and go far beyond photography. But there is enough blood on the lens to keep you busy through a long career. I applaud your work.”