Boy, Rat King Escape, and Red Room all capture Willa Nasatir’s unique approach to staging, photographing, and rephotographing elaborate sculptural landscapes of her own creation. To make these works, Nasatir first assembles objects both common and unusual: copper tubing, a pair of broken eyeglasses, a motorcycle helmet, a baseball cap, a child’s chair, a rubber snake. She then complicates the composition by propping mirrors, bending mylar, and deploying scrims of extruded Plexiglas in the space between her constructions and camera. Every resulting image, no matter how surreal, is grounded in the artist’s studio-based practice and the city of New York. In fact, the window that can be glimpsed in the background of these photographs is a reflection of one in the artist’s Brooklyn studio.
Each individual photograph is sourced from a memory or a narrative, whether something Nasatir experienced or a powerful scene encountered in another artist’s artwork or a film. However, her images do not tell set stories. Rather, the artist’s cobbling and filtering is a sleight of hand that unmoors her subjects from their origins. The resulting photographs call on us, as the photographs’ audience, to create our own storylines.