Art Crush: Amanda Charchian Explores Sensuality Through Surreal Shapes

Amanda Charchian is a Los Angeles-based photographer and artist whose work explores the soft and shifting spaces between sensuality and surrealism. Her lens focused on deconstructing femininity through the female gaze, she creates dream-drenched and mystical images that are simultaneously intimate and epic, subverting the trope of nude photography and translating the quiet connection between her candid and carefree subjects and their surroundings.

Her latest series, Mono, finds the artist confronting the conceptual, infusing her multi-faceted relationship with femininity and intimacy into an exploration of color, texture, and form. The result is images that exist at the crossroads of evocative and aesthetic: black and white nudes portraits cast against architectural backdrops, surrounded by colorful shapes that Charchian has painted over the images, an experimental homage to one of her artistic inspirations, conceptual artist John Baldessari.

Playing with the idea of the nude body as a shape that interacts naturally with its surroundings, her images inspire a sensuality that feels honest and unexpected. The colorful splotches and shapes imbue her photos with a playful and cinematic energy, adding a kaleidoscope of emotion not typically found in black and white photos, placing something as familiar as the body into the wild and weird landscape of the surreal. The series as a whole seems to be circling the strange and unexplainable nature of sensuality, how it can be hard-edged and softly voluptuous, intimate and larger than life, all at the same time. Our bodies are in constant conversation with the environment that we find ourselves in, yet it takes a splash of color or a smooth curving line to ignite our imaginations into seeing the tactile and sensual dance between subject and space in action.

In her own words: “How do you make something graphic feel sensual? I think everything I’ve ever made has been about intimacy – it’s always been about how close you can get to your environment. I think you can have intimacy with places, not just with people; maybe this body of work is about that.”

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