“If the doors of perception were cleansed everything would appear to man as it is, Infinite. For man has closed himself up, till he sees all things through narrow chinks of his cavern.” William Blake
"When I feel a terrible need of—shall I say the word?—religion. Then I go out at night and paint the stars." —Vincent van Gogh, letter to Eugène Bock, September 1888
Wonderful Catalog essay by Lynn Gamwell from 2016 Paris Exhibition at Galerie Karsten Greve titled, "Of Earth, Heaven and Light".
2013-2019 This new series of photographic abstractions are part of a life-long project titled: Rethinking The Natural. There have always been elements of abstraction in my work but this time I have combined multiple components such as mold grown in my studio, stars downloaded from robot cameras in space, snowflakes captured on a winter’s night, magnolia trees blooming in spring and unique camera-less Light Projections which I devised for this project and are at the heart of these images. (The Light Projections have been awarded the prestigious World Photography Award for conceptual photography in 2014 as well as being honored in American Photography 30.)
This new body of work is about my idea of the Infinite as it pertains to systems and spaces that we humans can not perceive. I am trying to visualize what the world would look like in its totality. With this series I don’t "take" the photograph, I build it from the ground up. I am very interested in the marks I can make in the darkroom using an entropic process I have developed over the years. I’m equally interested in the ideas I can generate and the ensuing questions I can bring to the medium, its history, language and close ties with painting. For, above all, photography is a language and I believe it’s a medium that is still in its infancy yet moving forward at a very rapid rate.
All of my work is about process, looking at things very closely, the marks I can generate with the silver metals in black and white photo paper and especially exploring the spaces between photography and mark making. My work has had a great deal to do with manipulating the photographic surface and this series is also another extension of that exploration.
If there is a rule that defines what a photograph is today it is simply that there are no rules. The question today is just what constitutes a photograph? If every mark in a photograph is made by hand with a camera, lens and light sensitive materials processed in the darkroom, yet it seems more a drawing than anything else then what kind of photograph is it? Abstraction, Photographic Document or Dream?
On a good day my images are all three.
Installation View: Of Earth, Heaven and Light at Karsten Greve, Koln