“It is a magical place,” Michael Gaillard said about Nosara. A NY artist who was the Artist-In-Residence at Harmony Hotel for three weeks, Gaillard photographed the town during his stay, showing striking details that might be missed my many of us in our daily lives.
As a visual artist he observed what was before him. He said, “mostly I was struck by the motivation that exists in the community to make it a better place, compared to the more casual attitude toward the future in other tropical places. There is a real consciousness and work ethic that exists. There is a positive feel to it and I think it is going in good directions.”
A native of Nantucket, MA, Gaillard, is an established artist based in New York City. His medium of choice includes photography, sculpture and video. A series of coincidences brought Gaillard back all the way down to Nosara, after his first visit to the country 15 years ago during his undergraduate years. The first time around, Gaillard and two friends camped on the beach in Mal Pais for three months. Years later, the artist met the owners of Harmony Hotel in his hometown where they would run into each other frequently at the Nantucket surf lineup, which led to discussions about a possible residency with the Harmony Hotel. Gaillard said, “The timing was perfect, and, not surprisingly, I was eager to jump at a chance to leave New York in the midst of a bitter winter.”
In January 2013, Gaillard found himself surfing the warm waters of Playa Guiones every day and making pictures on his 8×10 field camera. Having come down to Costa Rica at a transitional period of life, Gaillard found a breather. He said, “Costa Rica allowed me to slow down and focus on the details that matter in my life.” Back in New York, he produced two distinct types of work, landscape photography and conceptual studio work. Although it was more of a self-imposed division of work, he felt that it was about time to overcome it. Gaillard said, “I saw the residency as an opportunity to free myself from forces that had been limiting factors for too long.”
Photographic Vision The images Gaillard produced while in Nosara brought attention to the fine details. He photographed the sand, the reflections, the water, nature, and the people who were blending into the landscape. He photographed things that most of us encounter on a daily basis, maybe walk by and glance at them but not take the time to see and experience them. His attention to detail speaks a lot about Gaillard’s photographic vision. He said, “it (photography) is a series of details extracted. Photography is strongest when we consider it a metonym – a device where the parts speak for the bigger whole.” In a similar manner, focusing on the details has helped him overcome the overwhelming feeling that pervaded his experience because of his unfamiliarity with the environment. “The moment speaks for the experience. Small observations speak for the entire sensibility,” he commented.Here in Nosara, “if something struck me as beautiful, interesting, I responded to it.”
Gaillard’s two bodies of work, Nantucket and Nosara, are conceptually tied together. Once reproduced at large scales at which they are intended to be seen (6 to 8 feet wide), the work becomes a space in and of itself. Currently, images from Gaillard’s residency in Nosara can be viewed on his website. He also will show the work in his hometown, Nantucket, this summer and potentially in New York in the fall. He’s also open to having a show in Nosara. Like his Nantucket work, that he has been shooting throughout his whole career, Gaillard sees the possibility to work on an ongoing portrait of Nosara.
While expressing his gratitude for the experience he had in the area, the artist also added “Nosara kind of has everything I want like a secondary home. I can see my wife, Brett Gaillard, and I returning every year.”