The Monmouth Museum will showcase the work of Rafal Goraczniak, whose photographs have been chosen to represent the New Jersey Emerging Artist Series for the month of June.
Goraczniak’s “Beyond Badlands” exhibition will be on display at the Monmouth Museum, which located on the Brookdale Community College campus in Lincroft, from June 8 to July 8.
The New Jersey Emerging Artists Series consists of six annual solo exhibitions that highlight the work of New Jersey artists. The artists chosen to participate in the series represent the diversity of talent that is seen throughout the state, according to the museum.
Goraczniak’s upcoming exhibit features black-and-white photographs of desert landscapes he said were captured on the west side of the Mississippi River. He said the images focus on the texture of the earth’s geographic landforms and the complex geometries of the globe’s natural rhythms.
Goraczniak’s photographs recognize there is an absence of color, while surface appearances dominate the focus of the artist’s neutral tone collection.
“The desert landscape is my beloved subject … Instead of chasing the light, I simply allow the light to capture me. Viewers often see sunlit sandstones only for their radiant and saturated colors. I deliberately chose black-and-white presentation to expose their beautiful forms,” Goraczniak said.
His photography is inspired by the weather, Goraczniak said, and the way the light hits his subjects when they are being captured.
“The camera is like a brake that helps me slow down to engage more deeply with where I am in space and time. … Nothing is lost in the universe,” Goraczniak said.
A child growing up in Poland, Goraczniak said he became fascinated with the Old West-era of 19th century America. He said he developed a curiosity for the western region of the United States: its geography, history and rock formations. Goraczniak said his interest enveloped him in early childhood and inspired his most recent collection, Beyond Badlands.
“I strive to create unique yet realistic images with a surreal twist – photographs that offer visual metaphors for thoughts and feelings, rather than simply record the reality surrounding me,” Goraczniak said.
Goraczniak said photography is his escape from his daily routine. He hopes spectators who view his work observe his collection with an open mind. “When we see something everyday,” he said, “it is easy to overlook its beauty because we get so accustomed to it. Because I aim to capture landscapes abstractly and from a different viewpoint, I encourage people to do the same with the scenes and landscapes they see daily.”
Goraczniak said photographs that are stored on a digital platform – rather than being preserved in print – has become a common, individual practice. He said by showcasing his artwork in print, he is allowing spectators viewing the collection to appreciate the art without digital barriers impairing one’s vision.
“The print is a very important part of photography. It is the final product that will last. It doesn’t require a specific machine to read – only your eyes,” he said.