Kanab, UT, 84741
Tom Forsythe’s Food Chain Barbie series taps into the twin currents of jaundice and hilarity that characterize his sometimes simple and sometimes maddeningly complex view of the world. In this series, the idealized commodity – Barbie – becomes our food, our nourishment. We blend, mix and confuse the ideal fantasy with the essence of our existence. Barbie may be only one of a great number of products contributing to a false sense of inadequacy, but in many ways, this product is the most potent single representation of the ubiquitous beauty myth. As a part of our cultural identity since being introduced in 1958, Barbie reveals the continuity of the commodity machine. In the same way, the doll retains its glazed, blissful smile regardless of its impending fate. While most of us at least start to grimace when we smell the heating oil that signals our demise, Barbie keeps a happy face courtesy of the image-makers who hope beyond hope that those of us on the receiving end will continue to do the same. As a successor to the Food Chain Barbie series, Forsythe is making the Personal Illusions series of photographic portraits. These 20×30 inch Lambda prints result from collaborative photo sessions where Forsythe takes his subjects into his studio with props, costumes or just attitudes that they think define how the world sees them – or how they would like to be seen. He then distorts the images and photographs the distortion. It’s a real world distortion, not a computer manipulation, designed to reveal the inevitable distortion everyone faces even if they try their best to honestly face the world. Personal Illusions alternately reveals a multiplicity of images, a blending of edges and some distinctively clear insights. While still photography makes up the bulk of Forsythe’s artistic milieu, he has continued to work on parallel projects that reflect his Taoist inspired philosophy of going with the flow. His Healing Visions series of relaxation videos is meant to act as an antidote for the frenzy of modern existence. These slowly edited scenes of nature in motion provide a meditative background that can enhance or induce the relaxing states that we all need to enjoy inner peace. Some years ago, Forsythe traded a life of literal sensory overload in Los Angeles for the relative quiet of the country outside of Kanab, Utah where he enjoys the grandeur of the red rock and open expanses that surround him. In this environment, he can open his senses fully to experience the splendor of an environment that has not been developed to death.