December 4th to 21st, 2002
Abstraction in photography represents a considerable departure from Berenice Abbott’s fervent plea for the medium “to reveal and celebrate reality” – the raison d’être for much of 20th century photography.
It should come as no surprise, then, that among the best-known abstract photographs are those taken in real world settings in such a way that the subject is not immediately recognizable (e.g., Arron Siskind’s expressive details of painted walls, Minor White’s photographs of Capitol Reef, or William Garnett’s aerial landscapes).
In recent years, other approaches to photographic abstraction have been explored, including photographing assemblages of found objects in studio settings (e.g. the work of Carl Chiarenza, Barbara Kasten or Richard Caldicott); or, as inspired by László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, bypassing the camera altogether and placing found objects directly onto photographic paper (e.g. Adam Fuss). The aim of much of this work has been to challenge viewers to reframe their perception of the literal subject matter depicted, if only momentarily.
This is achieved through the interplay between the objective and the abstract – a dynamic that is especially compelling in photography because photographs, unlike paintings, for example, are expected to be “of something.”
Over the last four years I have explored photographic abstraction in a different way and with a different intent. Rather than using found objects, which by their very nature, make references to the real world, my images are photographs of paper constructions. Further, these images are created through multiple exposures taken from two, three or more vantagepoints – and are not digitally created. Hence, they depict a world that is wholly created in, rather than discovered through, the camera
My aim has been to explore new ways in which photography can uniquely contribute to, and expand the boundaries of, abstraction. Although there is some implicit comparison of these works to paintings, my intention is to create images evoking creations of light rather than paint.