My studio is the place where visual associations that I have collected over the years begin to vibrate, rattle and ultimately resolve. A visit to the Louvre might find its place alongside a glance through my kitchen window. The unnoticed is examined, the familiar is seen anew, and the margins are mined for the meanings that collect there.
After all, my images are also my Experiences – frozen, recorded, distilled. But I have never been content with the straight documentary aspect of the photographic medium. I have always wanted to render its expressive boundaries for conveying lived experience more pliable. I rip the “margins” off and create new ones. Edges that once existed melt, and with a few more gentle, haptic interventions, the medium blurs its record of the past into the reality of my present.
Sandi Haber Fifield was born in Youngstown, Ohio in 1956. She received her MFA in photography from Rochester Institute of Technology in 1981 and soon thereafter received a New York State Creative Artists Program Grant. Her work has been widely exhibited in galleries and museums throughout the United States including The Art Institute of Chicago; The DeCordova Museum; The Museum of Modern Art; The Oakland Museum; The Southeast Museum of Photography and The St. Louis Museum. Her photographs are represented by Yancey Richardson Gallery, New York City and Robert Klein Gallery, Boston.
Since the 1980s, Haber Fifield’s work has explored the visual, psychological and formal possibilities in creating composite pictures, whether it is the layering of images in the analog process of multiple exposure in-camera or by challenging logic and blowing apart the traditional expectation of ordered images on a wall. In her monograph After the Threshold (Kehrer, 2013), Haber Fifield portrays a world of fractured ties between images made whole through lyrical free-associative visual reasoning. The photographs convey a preset pictorial structure of either three or four images printed on a single sheet of paper. Noted photography writer Vicki Goldberg says, “Sandi Haber Fifield’s photographs float on the colors of memory, mood, feeling, and suggestion. They combine the indistinctness of memory with the imperfections of photography to produce elusive, incomplete reconstructions of times, events, and sentiments at the far reaches of perception.”
Her second monograph Between Planting and Picking (Charta, 2011) saw a return to straight landscape photography with pictures of small family run farms. In that body of work her photographs imploded, rather than expanded the photographic process, creating a panoply of exacting and complex relations within a single frame, a dismissal of the documentary photograph as a narrative vehicle.
In 2009 Charta published Haber Fifield’s monograph of grids and multiple image installations, Walking through the World. Richard Klein, Director of the Aldrich Art Museum says, “Sandi Haber Fifield’s haunting and quietly beautiful work with multiple images is extremely pertinent to this moment in photography’s continuing evolution. Her approach forces the viewer to slow down and consider the relationship between images. Never bombastic or sensational, the artist’s work is both a corollary to our current visual environment as well as its antidote.”
Haber Fifield’s work has also appeared in Fabrications by Anne Hoy; Picturing California by Therese Heyman; and Defining Eye: Women Photographers of the 20th Century and The Photography of Invention by Merry Foresta.
In 2015, collaborating with poet David Gorin, Haber Fifield published a limited edition portfolio, But That One Let Go. It consists of thirteen prints and thirteen poems with an edition of 15, plus five artist proofs. All images are printed by the artist and contained in a clamshell box. (Please see “Portfolio and Books” section.)
Since 2015 she been expanding her photographic practice with “Lineations”: a series that includes hand-drawn marks, layers of vellum, and other material interventions that interrupt the flat nature of the medium, driving the work into the realm of photo-based construction.
The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago, IL
The Brooklyn Museum, Brooklyn, NY
California Museum of Photography, Riverside, CA
The High Museum, Atlanta, GA
International Museum of Photography, George Eastman House, Rochester, NY
Los Angeles County Museum of Art, Los Angeles, CA
The Library of Congress, Washington, DC
The Museum of Contemporary Photography, Chicago, IL
The Museum of Modern Art, New York, NY
New Britain Museum of American Art, New Britain, CT
The Oakland Museum, Oakland, CA
The Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia, PA