Raissa Venables's intoxicating photographs are tied closely to certain enduring themes in architecture. People have long used monumental architecture to inspire awe, for centuries visitors have been dizzied when they look up at the sprawling vaulted ceilings of cathedrals. Even in the humbler scale of a nomadic Bedouin tent, where patterned kilim carpets cover the floor, she finds a comparable impulse to enfold the occupants within beautiful signifiers of tradition and culture.
Venables embraces the distortions inherent in flat depictions of panoramic spaces and uses them for expressive effect. The paradox is that the way we actually see space when we look around a room is more akin to the skewed perspective and multiple vanishing points in her pictures than traditional photographic depictions. Architects through the ages have known that space opens up all around us. In this way Venables’s work enriches our own experience of the everyday, reminding us of the visual feast that’s offered by the simple act of looking.
Raissa Venables (b. 1977) received a BFA in Photography and Ceramics from the Kansas city Art Institute, an MFA in Photography from Bard College, and an MPS in Digital Photography from SVA.
She has been exhibited widely in the US and Europe. Her work is held in a number of public collections in the US, Germany, and Switzerland - including the collections of the Städel Museum in Frankfurt, UBS, and the Nelson-Atkins Museum in Kansas City.