Joanne Leah's Acid Mass by Pacific Dissent

Who are you? 

My name is Joanne Leah and I am an artist living and working in Brooklyn, New York. I was born in Germany, adopted at birth and grew up in a small mountain town in Southwest Virginia. I create photo-based images examining the relationship between the human form and conventional objects, materials and substances.

What is Acid Mass about?

Acid Mass started when I was a rebellious teenager. I would take LSD, go to raves, and my mother would make me go to Catholic mass on Sunday morning while I was still hallucinating. My work is based on my perception of that experience: ritualistic, cultish, surreal and somewhat violent.

What was your intention behind the series?

It began casually, but evolved into intentionally considering my personal history and childhood memories. I feel as if I am conducting otherworldly science experiments depicting human subjects enveloped in heavy jewel tones. Staging body parts as design elements, I entomb my subjects in mysterious materials and substances, transforming them into something beyond human.

What inspired the series and it’s use of color?

I started working with a vivid color palette after finishing a dark, low-light, unsaturated series inspired by German Renaissance paintings. I struggled with color for months, and almost gave up because the images looked too commercial. I finally realized the colors should resemble muted jewel tones influenced by my previous low-light series.

Can you tell us a little about your shooting process?

My father is a scientist, and my process emulates the scientific method of research and investigation. I "collect" props, food, liquids, colors and human subjects. Each color, concept, object and subject is chosen carefully based on how they will interact while aligning with my subconscious vision. I document sequences of movement and interaction, and have started creating video loops using my still images

Acid Mass

Make sure to check out more of Joanne's work on her website and instagram