“Coalescing” is a series of collages made in response to the incessant onslaught of mass media and pressures of mainstream beauty standards found within. Women’s fashion magazines in particular stand at a crossroads of cult, consumerism and the unattainable image. By re-appropriating and deconstructing those glossy pages something truer, hand-made and authentic can be expressed. The resulting juxtapositions seek to remind one of the visual and psychological manipulations abound in advertising while also creating a new dialogue in response. “Coalescing” manipulates the manipulated as both rebuttal to the aesthetic pressures of advertising and as reclamation of the human image to speak a deeper truth by reflecting a more personable and representative spirit of self.
After graduating magna cum laude from Philadelphia’s Drexel University with a degree in Photography, Los Angeles-based artist Natalie Obermaier moved to Seattle where she worked alongside acclaimed photographer, Jock Sturges. Working in the darkroom five days a week for three years under his guidance, she mastered the craft of black and white photographic printing, while also acting as his studio manager and model. Following this intensive immersion into large format black and white photography, she traveled extensively, discovering her own voice as an artist. Her early bodies of work in black and white film are soulful and classic, showing a natural and deep connection with the people she photographs. In addition to her black and white work, in 2012 the artist began taking a photograph every day for 365 days of the year, using multiple formats, from film to iPhone. The results were printed and exhibited at the end of each year for three consecutive years as immersive installations. Currently Obermaier has turned her attention to hand-cut collage, sourcing her materials primarily from the glossy pages of women’s fashion magazines. When she isn’t lighting sets for Mark Seliger, David La Chapelle and other commercial photographers, she continues to explore her own visual vocabulary and exhibit her work around the country. In 2019 she was an artist in residence at the Bush Creek Foundation for the Arts in Wyoming. Originally from Annapolis, Maryland, the artist lives and works in Venice, California.