Osceola Refetoff | PRETTY IN INK


March 13, 2017  •  Leave a Comment



For an artist, exhibiting work can be as nerve-wracking as it is inspiring. Will they come, will they collect... will they write about it? Well, I am pleased to report things are going well across the board, and not least because I am genuinely humbled and honored by the slate of positive coverage on my current solo show It’s a Mess Without You at Porch Gallery - Ojai. First, there was Betty Ann Brown's auspicious feature interview in Artillery Magazine, and now a huge thank you to Genie Davis for her excellent review in DiversionsLA.


Remains of the Fruitland Fire - Dawn - Thermal, CA - 2016Remains of the Fruitland Fire - Dawn - Thermal, CA - 2016First printed: 2017

Out There - Juried by Jessica Silverman – Gallery 825/West Hollywood Pride Month – W. Hwd, CA - 2018
It's a Mess Without You - Solo Show – Porch Gallery - Ojai, CA - 2017
Image featured in this High & Dry dispatch: LINK TO ARTICLE

Remains of the Fruitland Fire - Dawn - Thermal, CA - 2016


The show is covered locally in the Santa Barbara Independent, Ojai Valley News, and Ojai Quarterly, and recommended in the Western U.S. juggernauts Visual Art Source and ArtScene.

The exhibition runs thru MARCH 26, and we have a few special dates planned for those who'd like to visit. I’ll be hanging out on the porch in beautiful Ojai Sunday, March 19, 10:30am-2pm. There’s an Artist Talk on Saturday, March 25 at 4pm, followed by the Closing Reception 5-7pm, with one last porch hang the following morning, Sunday, March 26, 10am-2pm.


Badlands Literary Journal - Cover & Feature Article - 2017Badlands Literary Journal - Cover & Feature Article - 2017
Badlands Literary Journal - Cover & Feature Article - 2017

In “black-and-white” news, Atlas just released a wide-ranging interview that includes the heart-warming story of how I got my first camera at age 5 and just “knew” I’d become a photographer… Okay, that’s not strictly speaking true – you’ll have to read it to find out the real story!

Also just out: Badlands Literary Journal’s epic 3-part High & Dry feature on the Salton Sea, published by the College of the Desert. Swing by Chungking Studio for a copy, first come first served.


Trailer off Schabbell Lane - Ft Independence, CA - 2011MAGIC AND REALISMThese photos were made between 2009 and the present in locations like Olancha, Lone Pine, Trona, and Last Chance Canyon. Made concurrently with my black & white work, the images are concerned less with traditional, art historical representations of the desert, but rather with interpreting the palette of the living landscape. Traveling with multiple cameras, I generally make choices about “what the picture wants to be” in the fullness of the moment. In some instances, I will capture a color, an infrared B&W, and a pinhole exposure so I can decide later which treatment best suits the subject at hand.

Trailer off Schabbell Lane - Fort Independence, CA - July 4, 2011

First printed: 2015

On the 4th of July, 2011, I explored what appeared to be an abandoned double-wide trailer on the Indian reservation in Fort Independence, California. The original fort was established in 1862, during the Owens Valley Indian War that deprived indigenous Shoshone and Paiute peoples access to lands for which their culture knew no concept of ownership. After capturing this image, and another shortly before, an Indian woman appeared at the door and asked me to leave her property.

My work often involves trespassing into what appear to be abandoned structures. I often experience a sense of remorse amongst the ruined homes and discarded processions of inhabitants long absent and forgotten. But on this particular day, America’s Independence Day, I felt an exceptional sorrow for those whose land was expropriated by a young nation with great aspirations. Just fifty years later, the City of Los Angeles would buy up large parcels of the Owens Valley in order to make off with much of its water, leaving the valley's new residents without the means to sustain their farms.

I returned to my car and later attended the parade through the town of Independence, just a few miles up the highway. There was much to reflect upon our nation’s complex history. I feel this image captures the sensation of being an interloper and a voyeur, bearing witness to a scene that can never be fully comprehended.

Magic and Realism: Photographs by Osceola Refetoff & Bill Leigh Brewer Curated by Shana Nys Dambrot - Chungking Studio - 2015

Trailer off Schabbell Lane - Fort Independence, CA - July 4, 2011 ()

But don’t just read about it, own a piece of history! Here’s your photo for the month of March, available for purchase at 20% off directly from Chungking Studio in either large (24x36") or medium-size (17 x 22”) limited edition prints through March 31.




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