Featuring surreal, MULTISPECTRAL EXPOSURES – debuts in the Palm Desert exhibition “PROBLEMATIC PALMS,” with an artist’s reception on November 15
Los Angeles-based photographer/filmmaker Osceola Refetoff’s brand new, previously unseen body of work “Chromatopia” – featuring beautifully surreal multispectral images of Coachella Valley landscapes – debuts in the three-person exhibition “Problematic Palms,” curated by art critic Shana Nys Dambrot. The show opened November 7 at the Marks Art Center at the College of the Desert in Palm Desert, CA. On Wednesday, November 15, there will be an artist’s reception from 4-6PM; Refetoff and Dambrot will be in attendance. “Problematic Palms” runs through December 15, and also features work by Francesca Bifulco and Andrew K. Thompson; regular gallery hours are Tuesday – Friday, 11AM-4PM.
The new series “Chromatopia” features multispectral exposures made with a camera sensitive to both visual and infrared spectrums, creating vivid and otherworldly color combinations in camera. Refetoff says, “My work has long explored human interactions with the California desert. Palm Springs’ stunning midcentury architecture and exotic landscaping presents a fanciful transformation of this terrain, a vision made possible by water imported from distant sources.”
In her curatorial statement, Nys Dambrot says, “Osceola Refetoff’s work with multi-spectral exposures creates arresting infrared images of iconic Palm Springs neighborhoods’ architecture, landscape design, and encroaching wild nature. The impossibly rich chromatic character of the work is in conversation with both Pop art and the technology of scientific survey; the assertive beauty they express contains the unease of invisible color, an inverted dance of naturalism and surrealism, and the seeds of a deeper consideration about the viability of putting a town in the desert in the first place. Lovely, sparkling, water-intensive, manicured, natural, unnatural, otherworldly, seductive, subversive—paradisiacal and problematic.
The “Chromatopia” work is exhibited courtesy of Melissa Morgan Fine Art. At the end of the show, the photographs will move directly to MMFA in Palm Desert, CA.
Osceola Refetoff is a photographer and photojournalist interested in documenting the relationship between people, the environment, space, and time. A graduate of New York University’s MFA Film Program, his work encompasses both traditional photographic techniques and “in camera” alternative processes including infrared and pinhole exposures. Underpinned by an evocative, cinematic understanding of how scale, point of view, architecture, and motion can express the essence of a given place, his images not only capture how something looks, but also how it feels to be there. Since 1995, his work has been widely exhibited by institutions including the San Diego Art Institute, Palm Springs Art Museum, Galerie Huit (Arles France), and Museo Area Archeologica Arte Contemporaena (Italy), and regularly reviewed in publications such as Artillery, The Los Angeles Times, The Huffington Post, and The British Journal of Photography. Born in Montreal, he lives and works in Los Angeles.
Awards and special projects include:
Photojournalist / Editor – High & Dry – KCET/PBS SoCal – 2013-2023; Los Angeles Press Club Awards – Best Feature Photo – KCET/PBS SoCal Artbound: High & Dry; The Arctic Circle Artist Residency Svalbard (Norway) – 2022; Los Angeles Press Club – National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards – Photojournalist of the Year (2nd Place) – 2021; Lucie Foundation – Juror: Prix de la Photographie Paris (PX3) – 2018-2021, 2023; Los Angeles Press Club – SoCal Journalism Awards – Best Photo Essay: Trona’s Boom, Bust and Uncertain Future – 2020; The British Journal of Photography – OpenWalls Arles 2020 – Outstanding Series Award (Grand Prize) – 2020; Los Angeles Press Club – Life in the Time of the Coronavirus – Best Photo Essay – 2020; LA Center of Photography (LACP) – The Creative Portrait (1st Prize) – 2020; Los Angeles Press Club – SoCal Journalism Awards – Photojournalist of the Year (2nd Place), Best Feature Photo, Best Photo Essay – 2019; Los Angeles Press Club – National Arts & Entertainment Journalism Awards – Best Photo Essay, Photojournalist of the Year – 2018