Co-curated by Christopher Schneberger and Stephanie Taiber, "Shadow Fixation" is on view at Perspective Gallery in Evanston until January 28, 2017.
Light sensitive materials – film and paper – can grasp and hold the shadow. They can be transparent windows to transport the viewer through the photographer’s lens and to a scene. Most photography is exactly this. The mat and glass, the surface of the paper, are not meant to be noticed but rather to be portals and panes, as unnoticed as possible. Yet these things are materials after all, and some photographic artists have dared to make the viewer aware of them, as if deliberately smearing or breaking the window, or putting the window on a pedestal all by itself. In the late 1980s, Mike and Doug Starn intentionally creased, scratched, and taped their prints together, forming multi-tychs in which a single image might span across dozens of small prints. This newly divided view thus made the window as important as the vista.
This exhibition showcases the work of five artists who further challenge and deconstruct the medium and its materials. Doug Fogelson makes images of cameras, but not by photographing with any camera. They are color photograms which record the shadows and contours of vintage cameras set below the enlarger in the darkroom. Julie Weber addresses the transitory nature of the light sensitive material by allowing the photo paper, exposed prior to or during the exhibition, to slowly reveal and wash away the latent unfixed image. Jaclyn Wright takes 4x5” film holders, generally meant to protect film from light, and artfully ruins their intended function with laser cuts that produce overlapping patterns and tonalities. Juan Fernandez also uses the form of the photogram (exposure of paper with white light and no negative) to depict three dimensional objects like icosahedrons with the precision of a draftsman and the texture of an intaglio print. And Elina Ruka, through the gestures of curling, warping, overlapping, and cascading film transparencies, contemplates the ever-changing nature of water and the malleability of image - its form and meaning.
With these approaches, the artists question the very processes and substrates of the photographic medium. They make the window a part of the view.
I'm showing a new piece "All the Waves Belong to the Sea", 2017 and "Uncontainable Compromises", 2016.