Sara Cwynar is a Vancouver-born, New York-based artist with an affection for kitsch and an impulse to hoard. Currently working in the realms of photography, book-making and digital media, Sara’s career has grown from a background in graphic design.
Her work is arresting and memorable, conjuring images of a long lost junk drawer or belongings you grew up with and like to glance back on fondly. Through the collection and chaotic assemblage of objects, Sara’s work documents the everyday. Taking jaded objects and found images primarily from the 60’s and 70’s, the work studies our relationship to the things that we consume and crowd our life with to make it better. Faded product packaging, encyclopaedia images, old photographs and stock imagery. The things that we obtain or create to better understand the world, later discarding and forgetting without a thought. It’s a fascination with nostalgia and the life cycle of ‘stuff’.
We were initially drawn to Sara Cwynar and her work through the almost overwhelming quality to her work; the obsessive categorising and coding of objects, and creation of a visual archive. The process she uses to actually create these shrine-like formations is as intriguing and fitting as the use of the objects themselves. Primarily analogue, Sara uses old cameras and outdated techniques often combined with reprinting and recycling of old encyclopaedic images to create the photographs. Often recomposed almost completely in the studio, Sara prefers minimal retouching and post-production work. This process can often take days of arranging and rearranging, but she has noted that it brings her the most joy to basically capture the image completely IRL.
We find Sara’s work so intriguing, and can’t stop revisiting her images to look a little closer, playing a sweet game where we spot new objects time and time again.