Musician Sean Yseult hasn’t exactly been sitting around idle since she hung up her bass with White Zombie. Splitting her time between homes in New Orleans and Manhattan, Yseult not only stays involved in music but she is also a successful fashion designer and multi-media artist with a wide ranging expertise in photography. Three of Yseult photographic projects are on display now in a retrospective hosted by Sacred Gallery.
Sean’s most recent works are part of the series Soiree D’Evolution: Tableau Vivants et Nature Mortes, in which she presents a series of Living Pictures documenting the soiree of a historically inspired secret society set in a lavish Garden District mansion, circa 1873. Each print is a storyboard for a narrative of murder, mayhem, and excess in which The Omniscient Oracles of the Occult revel in the decay and decadence of celebration for the Greek philosopher and Deteriorationist, Hesiod.
Each four by six foot print exhibits an intimate knowledge of New Orleans’ history and flirtations with the romantic occult. Though inspired by a mix of the large scale, black backgrounds, and grisly depictions of the 17th century Dutch Masters and the high society culture of 19th century New Orleans, Soiree D’Evolution is firmly rooted in the present through its use of macabre humor and vibrant colors.
The 2013 photographic series, Mississippi Mermaids was inspired by the artist’s childhood memories of collecting treasures from the remote coastal islands of North Carolina with her father. The most valued treasure were the blue, barnacle-covered glass bottles that washed ashore.
The standard message cast adrift in a bottle has been here replaced by lovely ladies, some resting, some daydreaming, some slightly troubled or even annoyed, but all of whom have themselves become the treasure, the message, the story sent floating through waves.
Yseult shot each photograph in black and white before toning each image in cyan – this transformation itself inspired by her time studying photography at Parsons when she would spend many hours toning photographs as cyanotypes. Each image of this series is printed on silver paper which further accentuates the imagery of water that carries each bottle.
Finally, Sex & Death & Rock N Roll (2012) showcases what Yseult described as “loose women, unkempt graveyards, and musicians in various states of cognizance” – subject matters to which she admits being constantly drawn to for the beauty of these people and places. Shot in black in white, Yseult’s fascination with women from eras past can be seen in her earlier work of 2004 as well.
Here, light boxes were built with black and white ethereal Polaroids, complete with tasseled pull switches and velvet curtains. Commenting on the inspiration for these pieces, Yseult has said: “sometimes I just have a vision in my head and have to execute it.”
She also experiments with metal prints, a finish which lends these moody photos extra character.
Rounding out the retrospective are a selection of her gorgeous Black & White prints of local New Orleans scenery, including a post-Katrina flooded cemetery.
Thanks also to Sacred Gallery owner Kevin Wilson and his wife Liz Henderson for throwing a great opening night party! I ran into so many old friends and acquaintances, some of whom I had not seem in ten years, including publicist Howard Wuelfing, Comedian and writer Dave Hill, Musician Acey Slade and Sean’s husband Chris Lee, formerly of the band Supagroup, who is a great guy!
Also, one fan brought along this little guy, a wildly adorable, four-week old Chihuahua/Maltese mix named Diego, who stole my heart away.
Sean Yseult Retrospective will be on Exhibit Through December 31st, 2015 at Scared Gallery, Located at 424 Broadway (just North of Canal Street), 2nd Floor, in Soho, NYC.