In Anne Zahalka’s images of female artists’ studios, strange and intimate arrays of objects appear as something akin to a museological collection. Half Wunderkammer and half enlightenment project, they present a mingling of exotic and esoteric objects, seemingly laid out to encourage haptic encounters amidst the suggestion of an empirical logic. More importantly, these are worktables, places where the latent potential of things are (re)discovered and built anew.
These photographs document artist’s worktables and examine the rich and varied materials with which they work. Sketches, notebooks, diagrams and specimens lie as evidence of their endeavors offering insight into their enquiries and the research that informs their practice. Amidst this abundance of information lie their tools, waiting to be put to good use. The display of multiple texts and images visible allude to the interests and influences that shape their art. It is an accumulation of the artist’s accouterments and the assembling of these within the picture plane that provide different perspectives to their work.
I began documenting artist’s tables as a way of understanding how they work and the manner by which their art is brought into being. Photographing their collections of diverse material enabled a forensic way of considering what lay before my lens. These constructed and assembled views provide a window into their world and reflect on the ephemera with which they cleverly craft, mold and develop their unique forms. Bathed in natural light,these still lives offer an encounter with the privileged and private domain of the artist’s studio at a particular time. In this way they are a fragmentary record with their work and I am grateful to them for allowing me to present it in this way.