Artists from Josef Albers to James Turrell have focused attention on how perception of color is a matter of context. Inspired by this history of color theory practice, I investigate natural light, atmospheric color and the photograph as object, putting the most ubiquitous of subjects -- the sky -- into unconventional contexts to create illusions that challenge expectations. My work references the Light and Space movement's emphasis on light as subject, while the images' formal aesthetics are influenced by the broad history of modern painting, particularly minimalism, color field and hard edge abstraction.
All images in Paper Skies and Moving Pictures are created by re-photographing a folded and/or cut print of a sky image (grey clouds, blue sky or sunset close-up) in front of actual sky. (There is no post-production manipulation.) In Paper Skies, the juxtaposition of the print against the actual sky creates an abstract image that emphasizes the ambiguity between the real and the reproduced, and allows the original printed photograph to be seen in a new context as a three-dimensional geometric form. The paper on which the original image is printed transcends its role as simply a substrate for photographic imagery and becomes an active ingredient whose edges, texture and shape play a key role in the final image. The shadows created as the print is re-photographed attest to the interaction between the subject and the environment, and reveal the artist's involvement in creating questions of space and geometry.
Moving Pictures also looks at the photograph as object, but this time as an object in motion interacting with its environment over time and, in the process, literally blurring the line between what is real and what is reproduced. The images are created by quickly moving a folded and/or cut printed sky image while it is being re-photographed outside. The half-second exposure time generates amalgams in which the printed sky and the actual sky are merged, blending colors and shadows and revealing a synthesis that cannot be seen with the naked eye. De-emphasizing the materiality of the original printed image by using motion to blur edges and textures focuses greater attention on color and the quality of light.
Modalities explores the creative process behind a photographer's practice through re-contextualizing existing images. Each finished piece is a digital collage composed of out-takes from the hundreds of images shot during the creation of Paper Skies and Moving Pictures. Modalities tells a visual story about a photographer's intent, decision-making and willingness to be open to the unexpected in the course of realizing a finished artwork. And because each collage component is a function of the artist's original choices in terms of movement, camera settings, manipulation of the material being photographed, etc., the collages also hint at the performative nature of the earlier works. The aesthetics of the final pieces are inspired not only by ground-breaking photographers like Ray Metzker and Harry Callahan, but also by modern painters like Ellsworth Kelly and Morris Louis.
In an age of exuberant digital manipulation, I hope the viewer will be surprised by what can be revealed by simply photographing a piece of printed paper held aloft. The mysterious optical illusions, the color-mixing that is a function of time passing, and the novel combinations of shadow, line and color compel us to consider how common subjects -- and photographs themselves -- can be experienced in innovative ways.
Images from Paper Skies and Moving Pictures are exhibited in two sizes: as dye-sublimation prints on aluminum 38" tall (see below), and as prints on paper 29" tall. Images from Modalities are available as prints either 38" or 47" tall.