Q: What are you going to exhibit at Marvelli Gallery?
A: The exhibition will consist of experimental darkroom prints made in a way that is impossible to replicate. They are all unique works. Cut from large rolls in the dark, the odd shaped pieces of photographic paper curve as they hang and rely on the frame as an essential part of the composition. Continuing this bend toward sculpture, there are playful references to trompe l'oeil. Also important are the rich and saturated colors and the almost paint-like chemical messiness made possible by this process. The mix of representation and abstraction present in these pictures was drawn in part from 3D quilt patterns (women's traditional mode of abstract art). Also, there is a visual motif of palm trees running through many of the pieces. Palm trees are both wild & domestic plants and the sharp geometry of their shape runs the spectrum from representational to abstract. I would advise not to look at this work so much as photography in the normal way. See how all the background bits, like the plastic of the film is cut up and all sorts of messiness is in the foreground and the nudes are not ladies, but men? Most of the social and technical conventions of the photographic process make me want to throw a fit.
Q: You mean you invert the traditional protocols to gain objectivity on accepted wisdom and received traditions? And the point in doing so is to both critique the lack of self-critique and enjoy the visceral and aesthetic powers of photography?
A: I never dust the negatives anymore. I am trying to layer several techniques onto one image to make an 'impossible image." For example, I enlarge a negative onto part of the photo paper and then another part onto a contact print, and then simultaneously onto a photogram. Really, the thing in the end is not an illustrative story telling image, but evidence of the guts of the process of making photographic images. The technical manipulations are all strategies and techniques inherent to the world of photography. Letís take photography and consider it as a science experiment with a given set of rules and factors. By using and violating and reinterpreting the rules of this closed sphere, we can use it like a bit of a test case for applied independent thinking and problem solving in general. The goal is to question all the received logic and wisdom and find a fresher, less limited way to think.
Q: Do you think anyone can actually work any of that out by looking at the works? You've made a bit of a technical labyrinth that only you can understand.
A: No, I think that it's in there - the struggle with the elements.
Q: And again, what is your problem with digital? Why so retro with all this film?
A: Oh, well, I am still chewing on things I learned about or became aware of when I first learned photography, which was right during the digital dawn. The struggle with pushing the technical system to its breaking point is very appealing. With digital, if you stress it, it just breaks. I can't massage the optical reader with my thumb and get an interesting unknown outcome. That said, I love the computer and there is always a great place for digital photography; however, using chemistry in the darkroom really ups the factor of luck and chance. Perhaps I love the gamble- perhaps I love that when something works out, it is usually better than I could have planned with my one little brain. It is magical when chance and luck and your efforts synergize. And much more often, they do not.