I wrote about my good friend Suzy Poling a couple years ago on Beware of the Blog and her surreal photos of abandoned amusement parks and her intimate and otherworldly portraits of the bowels of Chicago's Congress Theater. Expanding on her candy coated nightmare image vocabulary, Suzy has been traveling across the country with collaborator Julia Solis, photographing abandoned mental hospitals as part of a project called Fantastic Degradation. The series is not the mere trophy photography of amateurs who like to see how many abandoned buildings they can break into but rather a very personal documentation of the relationship they have to these places, seeking out traces of history in the ruins ravaged by nature and time. The photos are violent- piles of garbage and toys are strewn across the rooms, ceilings are caved in, and large ominous hallways lead to nowhere...yet there's an extreme dissonance from the overly saturated pastels that flood the spaces. Suzy also creates costumes and characters inspired by the spaces and photographs them blended and hidden in the rooms, acting as imaginary friends and threatening apparitions.
One of my favorite aspects of Suzy's aesthetic is her love of large colorful clumpy mossy masses. This is carried through all of her work, be it a mess on a table, a congealed clot of muck floating in foamy water, a rotting whale washed up on the shore or a decimated plaster wall of peeling paint. She also brings this sensibility to her noise project Pod Blotz where thick clusters of organ and noise spurt and sputter, creating sonic landscapes as ridiculous and creepy as her photos.