210SA article on SACM member Myriam Lanau's exhibition

Wednesday, 05 September 2007

Courtesy photo
LEFT: ‘Hardbodies' by Myriam Lanau. Photo color casts, paper, thread on canvas. RIGHT: ‘What Was Is Still — Film Noir' by Courtenay Martin. Silver gelatin print.

For the upcoming exhibit “I got you(r) back,” Courtenay Martin and Myriam Lanau spent a year creating artworks in response to assignments they gave each other every two months.

WHO: Myriam Lanau,35

MEDIUM: Photography, mixed media

BEST KNOWN FOR: Photo collages using remnants of her old work, which are cast in bright, primary colors. Along with the strips of photographs, she glued and sewed maps and paint samples onto the canvas.

CURRENTLY: Some of the images for the composites displayed in “I got you(r) back” come from a homoerotic series of Lanau's called “Behind Closed Doors.” “You see little hints of the old stuff, body parts,” she said. Viewers “think they're seeing pretty pink pictures, and it's actually two guys tied up and kissing. And then they see what they want to see. They might not see a torso there. That's fine with me.”

BACKGROUND: Lanau studied at the Kansas City Art Institute and the now-defunct San Antonio Art Institute. She earned an associate's degree in advertising from San Antonio College and a BFA in photography from UTSA.

PAYING THE BILLS: She's an assistant to a real estate appraiser.

WHO: Courtenay Martin, 32

MEDIUM: Photography

BEST KNOWN FOR: Portraits of women disguised with wigs, accessories and props. Interestingly, it's the best way she's found to discover the subject's true nature. “I tell them, ‘Don't worry, it's not you,' and see what happens,” Martin said. Usually what happens is that the subjects relax and let their guard down, and Martin captures their “very private expressions” they don't usually show. A debilitating struggle with a thyroid illness also has heightened her interest in the human body. “When I'm shooting people, I'm much more aware of the frailties of the body,” she said. “The body itself is just much more precious to me. It's not only a gorgeous or interesting object, it's very personal.”

CURRENTLY: In “I got you(r) back,” Lanau's challenges to Martin tended to include references to film noir. Accordingly, Martin's large-scale black-and-white photographs feature models and herself dressed in personas from the 1940s-1960s, including a gun mole.

BACKGROUND: Martin earned her BA at Incarnate Word and her MFA in creative writing at the California Institute of the Arts

PAYING THE BILLS: She teaches creative writing at Palo Alto College.

CHECK THEM OUT: “I got you(r) back” opens with a reception from 7-10:30 p.m. Saturday, Sept. 8, and runs through September at Arbor Art House, 837 Arbor Place. Call (210) 416-8938 for an appointment.

Jessica Belasco 210SA contributor