Since 2009 I have been exploring ways to bring light, form, color, and texture together in a body of work outside the landscape genre. Although it is generally not apparent at first encounter, these images start with a camera. All are printed with archival pigment inks on Hahnemuhle Museum Etching paper. In almost every case they involve a series of variations on a primary graphic element. Go to this Journal entry for more background.
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The first four of these are composed of details extracted from photographs of surfaces and textures on walls, floors, signs, and vehicles. They were shot roaming through Copenhagen, Denmark; Siena, Italy; and Stockholm, Sweden. The three graphic elements in each collage are the same in terms of size and placement. I plan to continue adding to this series as I encounter new surfaces in new cities. No doubt some will also emerge from fresh looks at not so new cities closer to home. The fifth image, as the title CRUMPLED COLLAGE suggests, is a studio piece made from fragments of crumpled paper.
I created the pieces in this series by building table top constructions consisting of closely spaced curtains of colored threads hanging from thin bars at the top. In THREADSCAPE #1 there are three curtains going back away from the viewer. In THREADSCAPE #2 there are five. I then lit the constructions and shot them on 4×5 film against a gray background. I printed the images rotated 90 degrees from their original orientation because I liked the sense of wavelike motion that resulted from running the threads horizontally. The lefthand thumbnail of each pair yields a view of the full composition. The thumbnail on the right blows up a section of each piece to give a sense of the finely detailed texture on your relatively low resolution computer screen.
I made the pieces in this series by first building a table top construction of white board. In the first three layers going back away from the viewer I cut portals patterned loosely after a set of concentric doorways in an Anasazi ruin. The fourth layer in the background is solid. I then lit the construction using a number of colored light sources to explore the various color “chords” you see in the different versions. I was also interested in the sense of going back into the inner space that is created by soft shadows in certain pieces. One in the series lacks shadows and appears flat. The individual panels in the composite study may be purchased and framed separately.
The central “calligraphy” in this series was created by moving a camera in front of a point source of light. I interjected my fingers between the light and the camera at intervals to break up the pattern. The color of the central figure in each pair is constant. However, the perception of that color changes dramatically as it contrasts with the two distinct background colors. The large six panel piece on the left is the primary work in this series. However, the three smaller pairs may be purchased and framed separately.
These “light tubes” were created by photographing colored light bulbs swinging in a pendulum motion. The large four panel piece on the left is the primary work in this series. However, the individual elements may be purchased and framed separately.
These “thread fields” were originally created as table top constructions strung with actual thread from a sewing supply store at eighth inch intervals in six different colors. In setting them up to photograph, I had trouble getting the lighting even so I decided to recreated them in the computer with four pixel “threads” in the same color sequence. In all three of these studies the thread colors are the same. So it follows that in the two dual background pieces the thread colors are identical on both sides. The apparent differences are due to the way the eye perceives these threads against the distinct backgrounds. The spaces between the threads in the white piece are just as white as the borders but the eye sees a color wash in those spaces thereby creating the pastel bands that give the picture its general structure.
To create the piece, I built a table top construction with a clear acrylic top. I drilled rows of holes in the acrylic and suspended wire in the near ground through the holes. Behind that I suspended colored craft thread, experimenting with a progression of colors across the picture plane. I lit this construction and photographed it against a gray seamless background. In the process I made a number of experiments with depth of field until I got the right balance of in-focus texture with out-of-focus color field.
As with the Light Tubes above, these “light waves” were made by photographing swinging light bulbs—in this case spiral compact fluorescents. The large three panel piece on the left is the primary work in this series. However, the three individual panels may be purchased and framed separately.
I photographed these red chairs against a black metal wall on the outdoor patio of the Danish Royal Theater in Copenhagen. Later I painted the cracks in the wall and table to create this set of variations. The large three panel piece on the left is the primary work in this series. However, the three individual images may be purchased and framed separately.
These three variations on the two central forms were made by photographing a table top construction lit with colored gels. As with many of the other series, the large three panel piece on the left is the primary work. The individual elements may be purchased and framed separately.