featured gallery for February 2008

Looking Up Lyrics

I approached the Frank Moore Archive Project knowing the first slide I was going to pull.

That slide was of a piece by Robert Blanchon. Robert was my professor during my first semester of graduate school; he had a profound influence on my work. He described Haphazard as "every photograph I ever took." This piece has questionable believability -- it provides us with evidence (990 Plexi boxes with photographs presented inside each box) coupled with his word. Believability is a consistent consideration in photography, but in this piece it is the definition rather than the content of the photographs that I happily questioned. The self-archiving and the mini-vignettes that occur haphazardly are also points of inspiration to consider. So with that, Haphazard became the first (and second) slide.

From A to Z and then Z to A, I combed the Archive and pulled slides that could build off of each other formally and conceptually. The process was like making a mix tape with someone else's record collection. When making a mix tape I pull all possible records, more than necessary, and then build my tape in a linear fashion, song by song, considering each song sonically and by its subject matter. With my web gallery the same was true: I selected far too many slides including old favorites, unknown works by old favorites, and newly discovered favorites. The editing came down to sequencing: which piece works after the previous piece, repeat until slide #20. End.

The sequence design ended up taking shape as a transition from the concrete to the ephemeral. It begins with the solid, where the photograph is presented as an object and as evidence: cubes, grids, and lines. The pieces then shift to those which alter the object: the removal/obscuring of the body; next the content of the photographs turns to that of objects: markers of time, skeletal architecture, negatives, notebook pages and finally a photograph of a fragmented letter constructed into a puzzle. Flip the tape. The pieces now enter the transitory and the sublime: smoke, particles, pixels, sky, water, and dust. The last work in the sequence connects back to the first with a piece that both illustrates and spells out its content.

This selection of striking photographs, documentation of performances, sculptures, collage and paintings feels appropriately viewed in the non-physical web gallery space. The process of making a mix tape is intuitive, requires the love of certain songs (or in this case artwork) and provides a chance to interact with the creative work of others. It is only complete once shared and experienced by another. So, here is the play list...

I want to take this opportunity to thank Nelson Santos and Amy Sadao. Also, Visual AIDS published a book of Robert Blanchon's work that I highly recommend checking out.