Cabinet Cards were a style of portrait photography used in the late 1800s. They typically measured about 4 x 6 inches: large enough to be viewed from across a room when displayed in a cabinet, which is probably why it got that name.
For New York-based artist Shinya Kato, these sepia-toned cards, and the anonymous people of the past captured in the frame, offered a mysterious allure.
Inspired by their compositions, Kato breathes new life into these frozen moments of the past by applying colorful layers of paint and brush strokes. “Gradations, made primarily with a painting knife to achieve different textures, adorn the photograph to produce dynamic lively shapes,” explains Kato. “It’s as much a form of transformation as it is preservation.”
Kato has created 81 cabinet cards, which will all be on display together at an upcoming exhibition in New York at +81 Gallery. The show, appropriately titled “Life goes on,” opens on July 21st and runs till August 20, 2016.