Visually penetrating, uneasy, yet surprisingly familiar, my photographic images question the viewers’ assumptions about their relationships with the world. Honest examination and amplification of toys, mundane objects, and domestic debris creep under the audience’s skin utilizing aesthetic seduction as a means of attraction and subversion as a means of affecting.
The sole of a marathon runner’s shoe offers evidence of the endless hours and sacred miles committed to chasing dreams, often as tenuous as the first steps into the freezing morning rain. The shoe expresses the contradictions it embodies: determination and apprehension, victory and defeat, strength and fear, dreams and disappointment.
Motion allows me to explore the mutations and image morphing in time. The fluidity and sensual aspects along with the visceral qualities create a hovering effect for the visuals, which remain in a continuous cycle of blooming and withering, much like the flora in the natural world.
Three different sets contain four specific cubes each. When stacked in a particular order, a seamless and infinitely continuous image is formed as a tower. The cubes can also be arranged into a square to compose yet another discrete image, with a different view on each side. The inside flap of the container box presents the key to solving all four visual puzzles.
Using a technique of seamless digital collage, I create imagery that is at once familiar and mysterious, enchanting and disorienting. Scale, color, texture, and juxtaposition compete and coalesce to transform the ordinary into fictional vignettes. Through aesthetic seduction and subversion, my works become visual Venus flytraps, worlds of beauty interwoven with moments of surprise and discomfort.
How we perceive something as “real” is the focus of this series of images. The photographic source materials (fake flowers, toy animals, and gummy bears) are visually engaging and animated so that they appear rich and therefore real. Imagination and its relationship with physical reality are at the heart of these digitally composed photographic images.
In this work I come to accept, and even embrace, the accumulation of debris in my domestic environment. Delighting in naturally occurring and unexpected juxtapositions I participate in the play and games of discovery. Chaos and harmony along with beauty and repulsion seek reconciliation as I visualize my life as humorous, disgusting, and fun – filled with dreams and surprises.
This series of digitally composed color photographs “Battle Wounds” attempts to intertwine the horrors of war with domestic comforts. Informed by the conflict in Iraq and my personal life of parenting a young boy (born five weeks before we entered Iraq) this work seeks to reveal the insanity of warfare from the perspective of a mother.
Tiny plastic toys of Cowboys and Indians are portrayed in the form of a shadow show. Backlit and translucent the main characters remain mysterious, just like the iconic figures in our popular culture. Extended shadows and lack of focus deny them physical presence or actual scale allowing the figures to become monumental and immortal, just like they might be in the imagination of a child.
“Kati Toivanen’s “Whirl” is an evocative, immersive installation environment which invokes the iconography of play to confront a range of issues related to childhood and passages to adulthood. Though each artwork functions independently, the exhibition was conceived and resonates as a unified whole – a poetic, layered landscape of images, objects, video projections, and sounds. Sensations and meanings compound through the course of navigating this charged terrain of familiar but significantly altered games and toys."
For this installation I juxtaposed the concepts of physical protection (imposing barriers) and emotional sense of safety (intimate contact between mother and child.) The audience peered into the safe through the metal bars to see a vignette of a child nursing, sucking his thumb, and cuddling with mother. On the opposing wall behind the viewers and the silent video a baby monitor device played sounds, which alternated between cooing and comforting sounds and unexpected audio clips conveying possible harmful events in a remote location of a lone the child.