A man sits contemplatively on a bed of rocks sprinkled with deep greenery; his stone like appearance allowing him to easily blend in with the surrounding desert-scape. This image is just one of the works found in Eric Schwabel’s collection of work which will be featured during the Ted Casablanca Gallery exhibit “Naked And Lush.”
Rather than relying on digital retouching in his images, Schwabel utilizes lighting, makeup, and models to step out of reality and bring what he imagines in his head into the final image.
“I started well before the rainy season, but seeing how the desert become so lush and green after all the rain we had in SoCal it made me [want to] shoot more new work [over] the past few months,” said Schwabel. “My work has always been about taking one small step out of reality, using makeup and light to create these somewhat mythical creatures that seem to be a part of the desert landscape.”
Each of Schwabel’s images is comprised of a human figure in a desert landscape, which communicates a sense of strength. He mentions that his work is always a personal meditation that creates and captures a moment of temporary escape from the chaos of everyday life. To Schwabel, the images he creates are a reflection of his emotional state convening somewhere between reality and daydreaming.
“To be beautiful in such a harsh environment demands strength in order to survive,” says Schwabel. “Particularly as you get out of the manicured gardens of Palm Springs, every organism out here is designed to protect itself. Animal life doesn’t make its presence known all that often, so I wanted these images to feel primarily as though you were getting a glimpse, being a voyeur into an alternate reality.”
The work in Schwabel’s portion of the show paints a different narrative than his previous show also surrounding the theme of survival.
Schwabel’s previous show at Ted Casablanca, “Don’t Laugh,” featured his work with model, Alex Minsky, who lost much of his right leg during an IED explosion while working as a United States Marine in Afghanistan. Schwabel expressed how fortunate he felt about working with Minsky,
“I feel lucky to have been able to work with him during what I think was a transitional time period for both artist and model, and now having created and really being completely finished with that body of work, I wonder what we could create now.”
Ted Casablanca owner, Bruce Bibby, whose new works is also featured in the show, says "Eric Schwabel is the hottest nude photographer working in the desert, possibly even all of Southern California. Eric's new painted-body shots are both exquisitely stark and hauntingly seductive."
Eric Schwabel’s work will be featured during the Ted Casablanca Gallery exhibit “Naked And Lush,” alongside fellow gallery artist, Johnny Nicoloro on Saturday, April 22, 2017 from 5:00 p.m. to 8:00 p.m.