Photographer Rachel Cobb has photographed current affairs, social issues, and features in the U.S. and abroad for the past 25 years. She has been published in The New York Times, The New Yorker, Sports Illustrated, Time, Rolling Stone, Natural History, Stern, Paris Match among others on assignments ranging from U.S.-led sanctions in Iraq, a Kosovo Liberation Army soldier’s journey from a U.S. college to his war-torn homeland, the Evangelical movement in Guatemala, and a papal visit to Cuba. Cobb's work has earned her recognition with Picture of the Year awards for her work during the 9/11 attacks in New York City and in war-torn Sarajevo, a nomination for the ICP Infinity Award for young photographer, and a Marty Forscher Grant for Humanistic Photography for documenting New York City's homeless. She has exhibited her work in solo and group shows at the Miami Museum of Art, the Smithsonian's National Museum of the American Indian, the Parrish Art Museum (Southampton, New York), Visa Pour L’Image (Perpignan, France), and in galleries across the U.S.
Reflections on the Bears
While at first glance Judith Kindler‘s latest body of work looks like child’s play with the use of Teddy bears but they underline the concern that Kindler has in her look at the loss of innocence in contemporary life and her reflections of finding hope, joy and peace amidst corruption, hate and abuse. The Teddy bear is innocence and maybe for Kindler, she wants that back.
Kindler tackles three different ideas via motifs in creating a narrative in this work. The first, that of unity through a zen like understanding of “harm no one” and finding peace within, exemplified by the zen-like circles. The second, the morphing of a small child becoming a bear cub, reflecting on the ideas of reincarnation as the ultimate karma for allowing bears and cubs to be killed while they are hibernating, as a result of a recent horrific loosening of hunting laws. Lastly, the work titled “They thought they could bury us. They did not know we were seeds” is a reflection on the oppression of thought, gender, race, ecological preservation, and religion - the “seeds” offering up a sense of hope for our future.
One of Kindler’s three-dimensional bear installation references the story of Theodore Roosevelt’s hunting trip, where his cohorts who had all killed an animal, beat and tied a bear up to a tree and told Teddy who had not yet killed an animal that he could shoot the bear. Theodore or Teddy was revolted by this activity and told the man to put the bear out of it’s misery and he disgustedly walked away.
Political cartoons of the day showed an illustration of Teddy Roosevelt walking away from the scene where the bear was tied up and eventually this cartoon evolved into the bear being a small adorable cub referring to the scene as “Teddy’s bear”. An enterprising man decided that the small cub was indeed adorable and made the first stuffed bears calling them “Teddy bears” which became a huge commercial success. This installation of nine bears connected together by ropes and covered in jewels, playfully and satirically portrays the story of the origin of Teddy Bears.
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