From a series about the high-potency, super-saturated hyperreal social environments characteristic of mass culture today, 'Rapture' displays the raw emotional intensity experienced by 4 theme park attendees as they enter into a realm of uncontrolled physiological chaos.
Stuart Sperling’s photography speaks to our curiosity and our exploratory instincts. It is immersive and experiential, engaging viewers and listeners with high-fidelity representations & interpretations of the natural world, the man-made environment, and the cultural landscape. It offers intriguing realms in which their awareness may study and their sense of wonder may roam and play. His pieces foster an active, participatory state of mindful contemplation and may be used as mandalas for the meditative mind. In this vein, they express his fascination with the nature of perception and the processes by which we gain insight into ourselves and the world. The arena of three-dimensional presentation, with its emphasis on environment and context, encourages viewers to look into, out, around, and within -- inviting them to insert themselves within subjects and to create relationships with them. His own immersion in a subject's environment is itself a key component in the process from which each piece originates. Sperling explores the ways the land influences him viscerally: how his feet and hands engage the terrain; how his eyes travel about, seeking paths and finding interest. He takes note of his emotional responses: openness, closed-ness, fulfillment, apprehension, inspiration, fear, intimacy, grandeur – as all will be factors in viewers’ minds as they peer into the spaces created in the eventual 3D prints and viewer units. He often presents out-of-the-normal stances and points of view, a product of approaching subjects with an observer-mind / alien anthropologist attitude – wherein he encounters his fascinations anew in the immediate moment, unbeholden-to (and often intentionally manipulating) conventions such as gravity, scale, and utility. His 3D images are acquired onto film in separate exposures, using a self-designed stereo unit that allows customized adjustment of the 3D effect on location. Sperling’s fine art nature photography was displayed in a solo show at the Natural History Museum of Los Angeles County in May 2010. A recipient of an Alfred P. Sloan Foundation Award for his artwork’s promotion of science in the public sphere, he is an alumnus of the University of Southern California School of Cinematic Arts (MFA 1999) and the University of Pennsylvania School of Arts & Sciences (BA 1992, through the Annenberg School for Communication). His work was selected for Review Santa Fe 2008 and has been shown at the Telluride Film Festival, the Center for Fine Art Photography, and the California Museum of Photography.