For our Winter show Lula Cafe is pleased to present Project Astoria: Test Two a show of new work by photographer Todd Baxter.
Project Astoria is a narrative photo series exploring life on an imagined new planet and its moons, discovered hidden within our own Sun's system by an amateur astronomer in Astoria, Illinois, in 1927. The moons, named for his daughters Elsie and Vivian, are found to be habitable and are colonized by a co-operative multinational expedition from Earth in the mid 1970's. The images follow the moons' immigrants as they explore, adapt and create a new life in their strange new worlds. Moving between the surreal feeling of a fairy tale and something more familiar and deceptively mundane, Project Astoria takes Baxter's unique visions to an ambitious new level.
With roots in painting and collage, Baxter creates lush, atmospheric, intricately constructed narrative scenes that feel at once strange and eerily familiar. The images of Astoria are painstakingly and seamlessly assembled from location shots taken in places as close by as Kentucky and Washington and as far afield as Morocco, Hawaii and Guam. Astoria's inhabitants are shot in the studio with hand made costumes, or in the case of one giant snow creature, constructed from clay with a dog's fur applied seamlessly by digital means. The characters and stories are fleshed out by Baxter partner and collaborator Aubrey Videtto.
Baxter's influences are as varied as the paintings of Balthus, renaissance era wax medical models, New Mexico's Space Museum and the style guide from the 1972 Munich Olympics.
Project Astoria: Test Two is the second in a series of four planned in-process exhibitions at Lula as Baxter works to complete the large scale, multi-year Astoria Project. It is the artist's fourth solo show in our space.
An opening reception with the photographer will be held on January 19th from 6-9, with a cash bar and complimentary hors d'oevres.