whitespec | past
past-the-peripheral by Charlie Watts
May 17th – June 21st
Just Past the Peripheral |
Charlie Watts
opening reception:
Friday May 17th | 7 – 10pm

If we do not closely look and constantly examine the earth beneath our feet so many fascinations of this life can be missed. Whether it is when a dream manifests itself in the flesh or when that perfect soulmate walks by in a crowded room. In my photographic practice, I seek to create images not of this world, to use photography as a stepping-stone to the unknown realm just past the peripheral edge of consciousness. My photographs bring imagination into fruition and provide a visual escape from the ordinary to the fantastical.

A recurrent theme throughout my portfolio and background as an artist is the idea of woman as the life force, literally the bearer of life, despite the limiting—and sometimes suffocating — expectations that society imposes on her. My connection to women as refuge is a natural consequence of my life experiences, where the expectations of men too often have taken precedence over my desires to be an independent person and artist. Therefore, I create work that is feminine in both its nature and subject, work that acts as a safeguard against masculine forces that I am encountering on my journey to defining my identity as a woman and artist. The photographs that I’m currently creating are helping me better understand my relationships to
other women—and men, too.

Day to day, most people see only what is directly in front of them. They make little room for anything that is mysterious, unexplainable, or even fantastical. Just as my photos attempt to allow women to expand beyond traditional roles, they seek to guide viewers towards a fuller life by embracing the subconscious, which is captured through the camera lens. At the genesis of my photographic practice is an urge to create images that transcend this world to capture a fuller experience of being alive, where all of us can step beyond what is expected to embrace the unknown. This latest series, intertwined with my earlier fairytale-based works, returns to the theme of solidarity among women. An undercurrent to these artistic statements on feminism—and in the broader sense, humanism—is the elevation of the need to fully embrace life.

No one can explain the mysteries steaming through this life. I can’t rule out the more magical elements just because they can’t be explained – just because we are told to hang up our imagination as we age. While on top of a mountain in North Georgia at The Hambidge Center for Creative Arts & Sciences, I experienced a series of sights that defy description. Coincidence can’t even begin to encapsulate my experience during this residency. For the sake of not sounding insane, I will not go into great detail but I felt those mountains really had a story to tell and one could sense how sacred that space was. Most of the images in Just Past the Peripheral resulted from this time of meditation and isolation. They will continue to expand and grow as my exploration of art continues and as I try to not just live not only on this earth but beyond this plane of existence.


Read the ArtsAtl review for this exhibition by clicking here.