The Surreal World of Las Pozas

With The Surreal World of Las Pozas, Joan Rosenstein introduces a set of provocative images of the female form. The photographs are framed against the surreal backdrop of Las Pozas, the remote Mexican fantasy world of Edward James.

A sculpture garden, Las Pozas was created from 1954-1984 by James, an eccentric British millionaire, surrealist collector, poet, and architect. Located about 100 miles southwest of Tampico, it is an 80-acre conglomerate of gigantic surrealistic concrete sculptures in the isolated mountainous jungle site. Archways, bridges, linked pavilions, terraces, windows, and towering fluted columns grow along side the jungle vegetation. Stairs without rails and leading nowhere, climb to the sky. Huge mosaic serpents and gigantic concrete bamboo groves, leaves, and flowers reside throughout the garden.

Rosenstein's black and white photographs of women within this fantasy setting, transport the viewer to an illusionary world, removed from twentieth century "technicolor reality". The dream-like landscape both dwarfs and amplifies the female subjects. These gelatin silver prints suggest an earlier age which is in keeping with the spirituality and mystery inherent in Edward James' fantasy world. Then, by interspersing large color landscape photographs throughout the collection, Rosenstein provides a second rich view of the legendary garden. The mixture of black and white and color photographs juxtaposes the real with the surreal providing the viewer another level of interpretation.

Over the years, Joan Rosenstein's photographs have become increasingly more narrative and surreal. Majestic, larger than life Las Pozas wove a magical spell upon the photographer, encouraging her to reconsider scale and human significance in the natural world. Secretive and occasionally troubling, her photographs touch on hidden fears and dreams. The masked figures that people her newest spaces at Las Pozas probe questions of symbolism, identity, reality, and mortality. Her work deals with a personal vision which she hopes will encourage the viewer to probe beyond the initial impressions of the picture.

Color & toned photographs are now available as 11" x 14" or 16" x 20" EPSON® UltraChrome™ Inkjet photographs.