Saelon's Studio
portrait of Saelon Renkes

ARTIST'S STATEMENT

My photos are most often about the kind of world I want to live in. Photography gives me a way to connect to this world - a world with quiet places of beauty, places of wonder, places that make me want to drink them in deeply - and to share them with others. I’m in love with the natural world, with the diversity in all its forms of life (both plants and animals), and with all the real people and real shapes within it. I’m fascinated by the emotional range of the human temperament, and by finding it’s reflections in the poses and expressions that people take on naturally.

After getting a B.A. in Biology, I joined the Peace Corps and lived in Guatemala for a while, where I fell in love with travel as well. I took photos all the time and became fascinated with the variety of human culture, but then had a very bad accident. It was during the time of surgeries and learning to live with pain and physical limitations that I discovered my art. Making art is an amazing process, hard to understand or really describe. There are lots techniques to learn, lots of processes to figure out, and lots of studies to be made, but in the end I find that all that stuff only helps one to give the art a voice that is recognizable by others. The art itself comes from somewhere within and can scarcely be shaped or planned in a fully conscious manner.

Ruth Bernhard has been one of my strongest influences, and I’ve been particularly affected by the theme of one of her books, The Gift of the Commonplace. In her work this often refers to commonplace objects, and in the workshop I took with her she challenged us to find something beautiful to photograph within a limited number of feet of our meeting room. I love working this way, and I love to take this same approach with photographing the human body. Like many feminists who came of age in the 1970's, I came into photography with my own biases about nude photography, and from the beginning I wanted to pursue work that affirmed the beauty of ordinary human bodies, rather than contribute to a process that would further the insecurities the average woman has about her own body. Perfect bodies are beautiful, and they are lovely to photograph, but when I can find expressions of extraordinary beauty in a completely real-world body is when I feel that I am doing my best and most significant work.

I’ve studied photography, painting and printmaking with David Bayles, Ruth Bernhard, Lucien Clergue, Steve Kiser, Alan May, Ted Orland, Holly Roberts and Brian Taylor, in private workshops, at UC Santa Cruz Extension, the Pacific Art League, and at Foothill College.

I've taught workshops for UC Santa Cruz Extension, St. Mary's Art Center and privately. I've been exhibiting my work since 1994, on the web and in galleries, and it has been included in many private collections. I'm currently living in Los Gatos, California (about 25 miles south of San Francisco), with my husband, Steve Fend (a USGS stream ecologist). If you would like to be notified when I update my website or have a show coming up, sign up on my mailing list!

Saelon Renkes


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SOLO EXHIBITIONS
2007 Bits & Pieces, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2004 Handpainted Nudes, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2003 Native Wildflowers, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2002 Landscape and Memory, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2001 Old World/New World, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2000 Bodies of Nature, Serra House, Stanford University, Palo Alto, CA
1998 Natural Scenes, Palo Alto Main Library, Palo Alto, CA
1998 Handcolored Photographs, Truckee Meadows Community College, Reno, NV
1997 Recent Work, Sullivan Goss Books & Prints Ltd., Santa Barbara, CA
1997 Keeble & Shuchat Photography Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1995 Hand-Colored Photographs and Polaroid Transfers, Cafe Sophia, Palo Alto, CA
1994 Hand-Colored Photographs, Nectar's, Los Gatos, CA
1995 to present, Saelon's Studio at http://saelon.com

AWARDS & JURIED EXHIBITIONS
2011 Juried Exhibition, Center For Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
2010 Juried Member's Exhibition, Los Gatos Art Museum, Los Gatos, CA
2010 Juried Exhibition, Center For Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
2009 Photography Masters Cup, Nominee in Nude Category, International Color Awards.
2008 Photography Masters Cup, Nominee in Wildlife Category, International Color Awards.
2007 Photography Masters Cup, Merit of Excellence in Nude Category, International Color Awards.
2005 Silver Award, Nude/Body Category, B&W Annual 2005.
2001 Member's Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
1999 Member's Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
1999 Britannica.com Internet Guide Award, Recommended Site.
1998 All-media Juried Exhibition, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA
1997 Member's Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
1996 Member's Juried Exhibition, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
1996 Top Ten Black and White Web Sites, February, awarded by Black and White World.
1995 All-California Juried Exhibition, San Diego Museum of Art, San Diego, CA
1995 Global Network Navigator's Celebrity Hotlist.
1994 Second Place, Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest, Palo Alto, CA
1993 Palo Alto Weekly Photo Contest, Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA

GROUP EXHIBITIONS
2010 Old Friends/New Work, an Invitational Exhibit at The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2007 Alternative Processes, Center For Fine Art Photography, Ft. Collins, CO
2006 Poetic Images, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2004 The Interpreted Landscape, Filoli, Woodside, CA
2004 For Love or Money, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2003 The Garden of Earthly Delights, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2002 Book Arts Jam, Foothill College, CA
2002 Seeing Between the Lines, Artists' Books, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2002 Sequoia Hospital, Redwood City, CA
2002 womanspeak, Triton Museum, Santa Clara, CA
2002 Café Salon, Manor House, San Mateo Arts Council, San Mateo, CA
2002 LightWorks, The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2001 What Was I Thinking? The Main Gallery, Redwood City, CA
2000 Handpainted Photographs, Marjorie Evans Gallery, Carmel, CA
1999 History of Women in the Arts, Foothill College Library, Los Altos, CA
1998 Out of the Darkroom, The Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1998 The Female Gaze: Women Looking at Men, San Jose Institute for Contemporary Art, CA
1998 Contemporary Landscapes, Museum of Arts Downtown Los Angeles, Los Angeles, CA
1998-96 Midwest Photography Invitational IX, national touring exhibition
1997 Christmas Exhibit, Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1997 Classical Varieties, Serra House, Stanford University, Stanford, CA
1997 A Room with Three Views, 1870 Gallery, Belmont, CA
1996 Body Images/The Illuminated Body, Brewery Arts Center, Carson City, NV
1996 Unbound and Exposed, WCA, Works Gallery, San Jose, CA
1996 Out of the Darkroom II, WCA, Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1996 Border Artists and Friends, The Adobe Patio Gallery, Mesilla, NM
1995 A Community of Artists, Center for Photographic Art, Carmel, CA
1995 Out of the Darkroom I, WCA, Photographer's Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1994 WCA Membership Exhibition, Anita Seipps Gallery, Palo Alto, CA
1994 Making Women's Art Visible, Galleria Tonantzin, San Juan Bautista, CA

PUBLISHED PHOTOGRAPHS, REVIEWS, AND INTERVIEWS
2010 Center for Photographic Art Collector Print Program.
2009 The Naked and the Lens: A Guide to Nude Photography by Lou Benjamin, photos & interview, published by Focal Press.
2005 B&W Annual 2005 Single Image Contest Awards.
2003 Camera Craft: Nudes, published by Applied Visual Arts SA, Switzerland.
2003 Women by Women, published by Delius Producing Berlin.
2000 Front and Back Cover Photos, The Mating Mind, published by Random House UK
2000 Defending Pornography, NYU Press, frontispiece image, and quoted in the forward.
1999 Index on Censorship, Vol. 28, No 6, November/December 1999, Issue 191,Underexposed, p.159
1999 View Camera magazine, May/June issue, figures portfolio.
1997 The Institute for Research on Women and Gender Newsletter, Summer 1997, review, pp. 8-9.
1997 The Santa Barbara Independent, April 17, review, p. 39.
1997 The Santa Barbara News-Press, April 11, interview - review.
1997 The Montecito Journal, April, interview - review, p. 30.
1997 Topia magazine, profiled in feature article, Winter 1997, pps.44-49.
1996 San Jose Mercury News, Sept. 22, 1996, review, Art, p. 5.
1995 San Jose Mercury News, May 26, 1995, interview, Peninsula, p. 15.

TEACHING
2010 Center for Photographic Art, guest lecturer.
1997-2004 St. Mary's Art Center, Virginia City, NV, art and photography workshop.
1997-2000 UCSC-Santa Cruz - Extension, "The Infrared Figure".
1998 San Jose City College, Assistant in Lucien Clergue's "Photographing the Nude" workshop.
1997 UCSC-Santa Cruz - Extension, associate instructor, Digital Darkroom workshop.
1996 Guest lecturer at San Francisco Art Institute, San Jose State University and Foothill College.

EDUCATION
Photography studies at Foothill College and in workshops with David Bayles, Ruth Bernhard, Lucien Clergue, Steve Kiser, Ted Orland, Marion Patterson, Holly Roberts, Brian Taylor and Jerry Uellsman.


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