Curator Jordan Sullivan on the tension between man and nature and the fragility of everything around us in his latest NYC expo
Jordan Sullivan is a very proactive photographer. Last week he was in Tokyo showing his own work and this week he’s in New York showcasing other peoples. Ethereal and delicate, his photographs concentrate on the tension between human kind and nature. He likens the slopes of the female nude to the rolling hills of landscape while at the same time revealing the dual power and fragility of each. These are qualities he retains as he curates Clic Gallery's latest exhibition, 'The Wild & The Innocent'.
I think liberating the taboo of nude imagery would lead to a closeness and comfort with ourselves. I think one needs to examine and accept what he or she is made of on some sort of spiritual and scientific level in order to really feel closer to the natural world
Dazed Digital: Most images in 'The Wild & The Innocent' seem to have a delicate quality about them. Do you believe that fragility is inherent in both body and earth?
Jordan Sullivan: Yes. It's almost debilitating when I think how fragile people and nature are. My sister is a surgery nurse and one of the bravest people I know, and I love hearing her operating room stories - as terrifying as they can be. A wound a half a centimetre to the right or left makes the difference between living or dying. Everything can change so fast. All things are delicate and sensitive but it's so hard to remain aware of that and to uphold it.
DD: The tensions between humankind and nature seem prolific in your own work, why do you think that this is a theme that particularly interests you?
Jordan Sullivan: I'm constantly feeling connected and disconnected from the natural world, and I think that tension naturally comes into my work. Also, when I look at skin or a naked body I always think of emptiness or a desert. I love being in the middle of nowhere. I grew up in a small town in the mid-west, so I was surrounded by a lot of nature and I'm always interested in how being in nature can change someone.
DD: Do you believe that man and nature can successfully co-exist or do you think that natural disasters and the way resources such as oil have been drained signal that we are destined to be opposed forces for, at least, the foreseeable future?
Jordan Sullivan: I think we will definitely be in opposition for a very long time and probably till our species is over. The way mankind treats the environment is definitely out of control. There would have to be a complete spiritual or moral change in the world before our relationship with nature would begin to improve.
DD: In what way do you wish to alter the exhibition-goers self-perception?
Jordan Sullivan: My first goal in this exhibition was to create a spiritual reaction in response to beautiful images. Photography for me is always about seeing. I hope people will look at these landscapes and portraits and get a sense of their own connectedness to the natural world.
DD: The exhibition, in parts, explores the naked human form. Do you think that acceptance of the nude body, and its liberation from taboo, would bring us closer to nature?
Jordan Sullivan: Cultures where nudity is not taboo generally seem closer to nature and more peaceful, but that is of course a huge generalisation. I think liberating the taboo of nude imagery would lead to a closeness and comfort with ourselves. I think one needs to examine and accept what he or she is made of on some sort of spiritual and scientific level in order to really feel closer to the natural world. I'm still figuring that one out myself.
The Wild and The Innocent opens today and runs until April 17th 2012 at Clic Gallery, New York.