Born in Jerusalem, Israel, Chen Carmi received her B.F.A. in photography at the Bezalel Academy of Art and Design in Jerusalem in 2005. Carmi is currently working toward her M.F.A. in photography at California State University, Long Beach.
Carmi takes photographic portraits of family, friends, and pets. In these portraits, she study the basis of their relationship, be it commitment, love, or fate. The images, often in black and white, are shot in a medium format. Subjects are portrayed in a formal and rigid manner. Using specific clothing, time of day, and background, Carmi isolates the object being photographed from immediate recognition of time and place, creating a world that is a physical reflection of her emotional experience.
During the last two years, Carmi has studied the relationship among photographs as part of a series and examines the impact of a display's decision upon the possible narrative and the “reading” of the group of images.
Dogs serve as a key motif in Carmi's work and appear in all her methods of work. Carmi writes: “There is something in a dog's emotional realm that escapes us as humans, and yet we want to understand. The question of what dogs dream about fascinates us more so than the question what apes dream about, and this incomplete configuration sparks in us a dim sense of embarrassment and guilt. When I look at a stray dog—strong muscles, limp flesh, crude fur—running through a side dirt path, I wonder: Where does it go in such haste? What causes him to suddenly gallop, suddenly stop? I recognize a total loneliness in it, almost to a biblical decree.”
In this exhibition, which is Carmi’s first solo show, Carmi will present a selection of portraits from a variety of projects. These portraits are of individuals and groups, humans and animal, the artist's closest relatives and passing stray dogs. Without separation and with no hierarchy, Carmi engages in a dialogue through looks with her subjects, and her images reflect the power, limitations, and unfulfilled longing of mute communication.