Sandy Son‘s strange lands



Sandy Son is an emerging artist who is currently based in London. Her art practice is predominantly focused on photography, a medium she experiments with by conflating techniques from drawing and photography. She takes existing imagery and digitally manipulates it to create otherworldly compositions, sometimes in ways that are not immediately apparent.

Two of her series, quite different from one another, but dealing with similar concerns, have piqued my interest. The earlier of the two, In This Strange Land, is a series of images that are somewhat baffling at first sight. Wriggly slithers, translucent crystals, and slices of stone hover upon expanses of sea, sand, and sky. The combination of tightly cropped, isolated forms and open spaces is disorienting. The floating objects are three dimensional, they embody some complex relationships between the qualities of light, volume, reflection, and depth. In contrast, the surfaces that accompany them are flat and opaque. However, this impression is deceiving, for there are unfathomable depths concealed below the darkened waters and ethereal skies. The photographs deal with incongruous relationships between three dimensional space and its representations in several ways. Son’s collage technique flattens the space in the image by eliminating shadows, yet suggesting a difference of scale between the foreground and background. Still, it is difficult to tell the relationship between the two. The resulting effect forces the eye to meander over the image, searching for an anchor that offers some respite.

The recent series Space Collage is a departure into more abstract territory. Here, far-away galaxies are stripped of their immensity and forced into circles and ovals, forming merely a part of the overall composition. They are interspersed with simple shapes filled in with flat colour. Rippling water and cloudy skies make an appearance once again, but here treated in a more graphic way than in In This Strange Land. It seems that in Space Collage, experimentation with formal qualities and more transcendental issues of scale have superseded the earlier interest in flatness and depth. It will be interesting to see where Sandy Son takes her photographic explorations next. Find the full series on her website, and follow her in Instagram here.

All images © Sandy Son

Space image credits, images 5-9: Space Collage No.7 — Noel Carboni; Caltech/Palomar Observatory Space Collage No.11 — NASA; ESA and A. Nota Space Collage No.10 — NASA; ESA and M.Livio Space Collage No.6 — n/a; Space Collage No.12 — NASA.