Carin Ingalsbe


1960 Born in New York

1982-83, BFA, Tufts University, Medford, MA 
1982-83 School of the Museum of Fine Arts, Boston, MA 
1981 Minneapolis College of Art and Design, Minneapolis, MN 
1978-80 University of Florida, Gainesville, FL

“My current exhibition is a combination of images from the ballet costume series that I have been working on for the last five years and new imagery that is more masculine in nature.

The ballet pieces are, in their essence, portraits. The costumes range in age from 60 years old, at their youngest, to pieces that date back to the 1700's. The wear and tear of the costumes has been a centerpiece of my portrayal of them. Their deterioration through use, like African art, is evidence of the number of hands through which these garments have passed over time.

From its inception, each costume was created with the understanding that the final vision of the designer will only exist until the first dancer puts it on. The struggle between visual design and functionality starts at once as the wardrobe master and mistress stand off-stage taking notes about the things that fall off or tear during performance. The destruction of the garment begins, and from that point on it becomes a living and ever-changing object that morphs through the brilliance and talent of others.

My compositions are expressions of what I think the essence of the garment, as it is today, is all about. And as with traditional portraiture, my motivation is to pare down the image to its essence so that the viewer can experience what I think is worth looking at.

The second aspect of this show is very much born out of my journey with the ballet costumes. Unlike the ballet costumes however, these new images vary in pedigree to include the most humble of items. Some of the most intriguing objects are from the Civil War--for example a bullet dug up in a field and a collection of dominoes made from ebony and ivory. Also, I have been photographing boxing gloves and hockey gloves that have long since lost their intended usefulness.

The objects all share a visual commonality in that they are the tattered remains of things that had been used until they were no longer able to serve a purpose because of their deterioration. This new body of work is also a study in tonality, and the photographs should function like black and white images through their pared down color palette. In, "Boxing Gloves with Wood Veneer," for example, the background serves to point out and highlight aspects of the gloves themselves. The veneer is a highly engineered version of something natural in origin. The gloves are crafted from something natural in origin as well, but while the veneer is a new material, the gloves in combination with their use and age express an organic patina that can only be achieved through time and experience. The tonal variations between the two surfaces are virtually identical, but the expression of the surfaces themselves could not be more different. It is through this difference that the portrait of the boxing gloves becomes most accurate to what I see.

The new images are also photographed in a totem-like format. They are placed on a background and shot straight on so the relationship of the background to the edges of the image itself becomes very important. The lack of angles--both in my relationship to the object as I photograph it as well as to the right angles that dominate most of these pieces-- is my technique for quieting other aspects of the image and maintaining the viewer's attention to the simplicity of object and its texture.

The method of creating these newer images is a bit of a departure from the way that the ballet images were created. Using a macro lens, I often take a few hundred pictures of the object in small sections. These individual pictures are then pulled together in order to create the final photograph that would be impossible to achieve through conventional photographic techniques. There are now many surfaces in focus that would not be attainable through straight-on camera settings. This departure from photography as a representation of "what is" becomes yet another form of portraiture but through more painterly means. These techniques are an extension of my natural aesthetic sense, which is based in painting, drawing and printmaking.”