Imagine humans being the center of a study where their limbs are replaced with tree branches, eyes with dandelions, legs with tree trunks, and skin is enhanced with nature's variety of textures. Sounds like the next big Sci-fi thriller, but these creations are actually brought to life in Alexandra Bellissimo's “Simulations”, a photo collage collection now at Kopeikin Gallery. These biomorphic creations immediately entice curiosity towards the thought of humans and nature as one. Although the individuals in the photographs are slowly being consumed by nature, their expressions are quite peaceful. As we realize that the individuals are no longer purely human, we step into the surreal where these creatures appear somewhat eerie, yet possess the tranquility of the natural world. The modification in structure between the human species and nature is stunningly captured; it’s as though the artist took snapshots of the transformation as it happened right before our eyes.
Bellissimo's collages have such depth and variation created by her meticulously placed layers; every cut-out placed on a photograph moves with the curves of the body and serve as an extension of the figure. Two very striking photographs in the exhibit are entitled Hollow and Hollow 2; here the artist has created the illusion of a cave or hole in the head of a man and the midsection of a woman. This effect allows the viewer to “see” into the depths that nature has emptied with its consuming force. Most of the photos are black and white, but a few have a pop of color, paralleling or representing the array found in Mother Nature. By far, Bellissimo executes surrealistic photographs incorporating collage that provoke an interest in the idea of simulating the possibility of nature becoming one with humans.
Words and images by Jessica Portillo