Some of the most compelling work we share at Wonderful Machine combines a nod to the past with a clear message about the present. In some cases, like with the work of the Jersey City-based team of Hagit Dror and Bill Forshee, otherwise known as Dror/Forshée, the end result is biting satire. The photography team took iconic paintings from way back when and infused decidedly modern technology to “creative a narrative experience for the viewer.”
We are heavily influenced by classical painters and are working in a tableau style. These images are allegorical and contain a lot of symbolism. They blur the line between photography, classical painting, and fine art.
This is one of those projects where it’s best left to the artists to explain their work, lest the message get lost in translation. With that in mind, let’s view each image individually. As you scan the work, notice the structural integrity inherent to quality satire. No detail is too small for Dror/Forshée, which makes the work stick in the mind.
ADAM LIKES EVE:
This is the story of Adam and Eve, shown as an allegory of social media.
This was inspired by Baroque and Rococo paintings. We depicted Gaia as a voluptuous, plastic-winged goddess. She has a questioning gaze while she reclines in a plastic chair and ottoman surrounded by plastic flowers and plastic trash. The two slaughtered pigs attend to her like cherubs and the trash flows out toward the viewer like a plastic waste tide. She is very large, scaled similarly to salon paintings of the 18th and 19th centuries.
This is a fun image that takes inspiration from and a lot of liberty with Jacques-Louis David’s “Napoleon Crossing the Alps.” It is meant to be the personification of ‘selfie’ culture. Self-objectification and self-obsession thrive in online communities and people feel the need to share every mundane moment of their life. We added the infamous MAGA hashtag, scrawled in chalk to the left of her. She is a warning that we should all pay closer attention to what’s happening in social media, both politically and socially.
Influenced by mother goose, ceramic figurines, and Americana, Curio is a portrait of a young girl living in an ethno-nationalist America. The title comes from curio cabinets where collections of figurines or other objects that invoke curiosity are put on display. This amalgamated fairy tale is placed in an oval frame with a domed glass, like some shinning artifact of the past. Hung on a heavily painted wall, she gazes off in the distance with an American flag reflected to her right. I think there is something wholesome yet sexual about her, something exotic but familiar.
Pheme, a goddess in Greco-Roman mythology, is the personification of rumor and gossip. Drawing parallels between Pheme and social media provides social commentary based on culture, politics, and ethics. Stylistically, this image is loosely based on Rococo paintings of the 18th century. The idyllic setting is contrasted by a darker undercurrent that reflects on contemporary issues associated with social media and society as a whole. Elements such as mylar heart balloons, poppies, and an assault rifle allow us to shift back and forth between whimsical and cautionary.
Dror/Forshée is diligently working to add more images to this collection. Eventually, the team hopes to have enough work to host a standalone exhibit of the satirical shots. If the photos above are any indication, viewers will be enthralled by whatever comes next.
We have been part of two group exhibits so far and hope to have enough by next year for a solo exhibit.
See more of Dror/Forshée’s work at dror-forshee.com.
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