Isobel Rae is a photographer and visual artist from Emily Carr university who caught our eye with her often unsettling depictions of inanimate objects and locales. She manages to imbue everyday items with a sense of loneliness, menace, or both.
I took a trip out to the Riverview Asylum and Pickton’s farm recently with Isobel, as part of her ongoing hunt for abandoned (and potentially haunted) locations. Both locations were extremely creepy, and more than a little depressing. As we walked around looking for holes in fences and closed-up-doorways to slip through, she was kind enough to fill me in on her background and her upcoming work. She’ll be spending a portion of the next scholastic year in Norway, documenting one of the darkest countries on earth, and we’re excited to be showing off some of her fascinating portfolio.
Caotica: Tell us about your style: your artist’s statement, what defines your work.
Isobel: I am a visual artist that is filled with contradictions: what I want to focus on and examine. I find I am always looking at both sides of a study, and therefore always contradict my thesis for a project. I think this adds to what I find interesting about my practice and my research. I realize that whatever I put forth, every person is going to read it in a different way. So no matter what my intent, it won’t necessarily follow through to the viewer. I seek out adventure and experiences, because I want to photograph them. A lot of my decisions (in life) are based on wanting to create, and deliberately putting myself in a position where i have the opportunity to create.
Caotica: And what are you working on next?
Isobel: The next project I want to work on is going to be in Norway. I want to survey the landscape and research the indigenous cultures of Norway in order to somehow tie it back to the project i did on residential schooling in Canada.
(Appreciative nods by Caotica staffers)
Caotica: How about your influences? What drives you?
Isobel: (My) major influences include photographers Francesca Woodman, Larry Sultan, Tim Barber, Sandra Semchuk, Nan Goldin and Pierre et Gilles. Pierre et Gilles really interests me because he creates very artificial images, which i find intriguing and they are a contrast to what we first thought of photography – that we could use photos to see the “truth”. Also, painters such as Matisse and Picasso, because I am inspired by their use of abstraction. I’m also influenced by colour. Colour, and the palette of a composition, is what draws me into a subject.
Caotica: Who IS Isobel Rae?
Isobel: Isobel Rae is the bees knees. Haha, JK – don’t write that.
Caotica: We absolutely won’t.
We’re definitely fans. And we’re assuming you are as well by now too, so here’s the DL on where you can find, follow, and purchase Isobel’s work online. Her Cargo Collective presence is currently under development, so keep your eyes peeled for that as well.
Society6 – Purchase prints, originals, or art screen-printed onto objects if that’s your thing.
Instagram – Nothing but photos – just the way we like it.
FB Fan Page – Photos and updates on shows.
And finally , a new web site. IsobelRae.com