Joel-Peter Witkin is a photographer whose images of the human condition are undeniably powerful. For more than 20 years he has pursued his interest in spirituality and how it affects the physical world in which we exist. Finding beauty within the grotesque, Witkin pursues this complex issue through people most often cast aside by society – human spectacles including hermaphrodites, dwarfs, amputees, androgynous people, carcasses, people with odd physical capabilities, fetishists, and "any living myth ... anyone bearing the wounds of Christ." His fascination with other people's physicality has inspired works that confront our sense of normalcy and decency, while constantly examining the teachings handed down through Christianity. His constant reference to paintings from art history – including the works of Bosch, Goya, Velasquez, Miro, Botticelli and Picasso – are testaments to his need to create a new history for himself. By using imagery and symbols from the past, Witkin celebrates our history while constantly redefining its present-day context.
The Etherton Gallery is exhibiting Joel-Peter Witkin, Alice Leora Briggs and Holly Roberts from Jan. 8 – April 6. There is a reception from 7-10 p.m. on Jan. 12.