“Language of Love” photographic art exhibit opens at Lala Gallery

LAFAYETTE, Ind. — “Language of Love”, a collaborative exhibition by Jefferson High School teachers Ali Broach and Mari Battiste, opens at Lala Gallery today (Jan 11) and runs through February 13. An opening reception is scheduled for Friday, January 15th from 6:00p-10:00p at 609 Main Street in Downtown Lafayette.

Ali Broach and Mara Battiste are friends, colleagues, and collaborating artists who live and work in Lafayette. Broach focuses primarily on darkroom processes, while Battiste’s approach to photography is predominantly in the digital realm. Their methods may show the contrast between traditional and contemporary practices, but their work shares a strong common ground in conceptual and aesthetic sensibilities.

Ali Broach

A photo by Ali Broach from the Evolution series

Ali Broach
Ali Broach received her BA in 1991 and her MA in Photography in 1999 from Purdue University. She is a photographer and art educator at Lafayette Jefferson High School, where she has taught photography since 2004. She also taught photography at the Indianapolis art center for 10 years, at Purdue for 7 years, and at Ivy Tech for 2 years. Broach’s work in “Language of Love” consists of a collection of fiber-based silver gelatin prints that have been physically altered through selective toning, writing, and various methods of surface distress.

Evolution is a natural process by which we live. Whether consciously or unconsciously, we are constantly growing and changing. Through the years, Broach’s body of work has evolved into a sort of “book of creation;” a unique and individualized journal filled with snapshots of her personal journey. It began with the process of photographing the things that compose her everyday life, and has since developed into a memoir of remembrance. Broach’s children and family are the foundation of her world. The recent loss of her life partner and soul mate of seventeen years is something that touches her at the core of her existence. This experience has allowed Broach to view her work in an entirely different light. The silver, ink, tones, and scratches embedded in the fibers of her photographs are metaphors for the memories of togetherness, love, and loss that now envelop her family. It is her hope that this visual diary of images will help to preserve these memories and allow them to live on vicariously through the mind’s eye.

Mara Battiste Inkblots

An image by Mara Battiste from the Inkblots series

Mara Battiste
Mara Battiste received her BA in Studio Art from Indiana University in 2005. She is a multi-disciplinary artist and art educator at Lafayette Jefferson High School, where she has taught AP art, photography and digital design since 2005. She has continued her education with courses at the School of the Art Institute of Chicago and Milwaukee Institute of Art and Design, and is currently pursuing her MFA in Electronic and Time-Based Art at Purdue. Battiste’s contribution to “Language of Love” is a collection of multi-media time-based pieces from consecutive bodies of work, including stop-motion animation, video, digital photography and collage.

Process of Attraction is a series concentrating on the venus fly trap. This plant is a fascinating example of how an organism can adapt to make the most of its position within a less than ideal environment. Venus fly traps are native to the nutrient-depleted bogs of the Carolinas, where the lack of sustenance in the soil led to plants with evolved mechanisms that lure in, capture, and consume bugs and small animals. Being stationary, it cannot approach the “hunt” in the conventional way that most carnivorous beings do. Instead of aggressively pursuing prey, it relies on the power of attraction to passively draw victims into enticing false-flower traps. Since its discovery, this plant has been metaphorically linked to a decidedly male perception of female gender and sexuality. The venus fly trap has been presented as the femme fatale of the plant world. Considering its unemotional nature, the association of this plant with the Roman goddess of love is an interesting subject that brings into question the variety of ways we define the word “love.” A man may have originally assigned the name and connotations of this curious plant, but Mara’s work seeks to further explore and expand on the potent symbolic power it can hold from a female perspective. The pieces in this series serve as a representation of internal dialogue, self-awareness, control, meditation, ritual, and nature. The broader focus is on the collective (spiritual, emotional, sensual, and intellectual) relationship between women and the idea of Venus as the embodiment of female love, lust, and attraction.

Inkblots is a series that began in a sketchbook as a visual exploration of juxtaposition and contrast through assembling collages from ink and magazine clippings. Drawn to the aesthetic qualities of these images, but still desiring something more meaningful than superficial attraction, the process then evolved to digitally layering the inkblots with Mara’s own photographs. The result is a body of work that satisfies on a deeper conceptual level and invites the viewer to construct their own personal narratives. The first of these digital images is a self-portrait, followed by portraits of women and children with whom the artist has a significant connection. These pieces are an attempt to express the dualities of human relationships that are difficult to put into words. They speak of love and loss, intimacy and isolation, beginnings and ends.

Lala Gallery & Studio
Lala Gallery & Studio hosts an event every third Friday of the month from 6:00–10:00p to celebrate new contemporary art and the artists who create it.

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 October 2020