“Montages” is a series of monumental photo installations. Each piece is approximately 9 feet high x 20 feet wide and gives the viewer the sensation of being enveloped by the work.
Recently, I was invited to exhibit pieces from the “Montages” series in three separate solo shows at these outstanding institutions: Houston Center for Photography, Nov 19, 2010 -Jan 10th, 2011; Southeast Museum of Photography, February 26 - May 13, 2011 and the Addison Gallery of American Art, fall/winter, 2011, (exact date to be determined). I am also in discussions with The Milwaukee Museum of Art about a solo show.
Each piece in the series consists of about 120 separate images which expand, contract, repeat and double back on themselves. Instead of a comprehensive, coherent summary of experience there are glimpses of fragments that stack up to form a whole.
As the eye leaps from photo to photo, the brain endeavors to fill in gaps of time and perception. There is a natural longing for these individual images to form a coherent, linear experience, but instead there are only glimpses of fragments which combine to form an enigmatic whole. This introduces the element of language and brings to mind a variety of methods of communication: hieroglyphics, strips of film, disassembled flipbooks, musical scores and wordless comic book panels. The resulting fractured narratives stretch the boundaries of both storytelling and visual representation.
I use stock photography imagery as source material, photocopying it, enlarging it, reducing it, painting on it, drawing on it, and otherwise manipulating it—mostly via manual procedures—until the images become thoroughly my own. This complex, many-layered method of production results in unique gelatin silver prints that reveal unnoticed, unappreciated, and poignant images previously imbedded within their generic sources. By altering the “root” image in these ways, I create new “branches” whose narratives are utterly different from the original.
Although I come from a background in painting, I have been exploring alternative photographic processes and techniques since 1988. Since that time, my mural photographs and wall sized photographic installations have been collected and shown by curators at such diverse venues as The Metropolitan Museum of Art, Bibliothèque nationale de France, The Brooklyn Museum of Art, The Fogg Art Museum, Neuberger and Berman, The Norton Museum and The New York Public Library.
Because my work features photography as both the subject and the material of art, the curators and I believe these shows will connect with audiences on many levels: art lovers, contemporary art aficionados, photography lovers and the general public. I conjure up places which feel familiar though they obviously cannot exist. These fabricated spaces are ultimately brought to life through the viewer’s unique capacity to be affected by memory, dreams and nostalgia.
The large scale and unusual appearance of the “Montages,” especially when grouped together, are ingredients for an exhibition with dramatic impact.
Each curator wishes to include four pieces from the “Montages” series in their show. Three of these pieces currently exist in only a work print or Xerox format. Printing of the exhibition quality, gelatin silver photographs is scheduled to begin in late July. It will take four to five weeks to complete 360 prints (120 prints /montage). Trimming and dry mounting take approximately three weeks and will be ready in late September. Adhering Velcro coins to the backs of the 4-ply board takes about 1-2 days and packing into the crates is half a day. The pieces must ship by mid-October for the Houston Center for Photography’s opening on November 19, 2010.
Each venue is planning a catalogue and advertising, and has expressed interest in having me participate in a workshop, gallery talk and/or artist’s lecture. My recent experience as artist-in-residence at the Addison Gallery at Phillips Academy, Andover has already allowed me to be engaged with the students, staff and arts community in both Andover and Lawrence.
The Addison Gallery’s budget is $30,000 for their Artist-in-Residence shows. This provides for framing, shipping, crating, catalogue, invitation, travel, lodging and food, but this does not cover production costs. The Houston Center for Photography’s budget is $7,600 per show and covers shipping and crating ($1,600), catalogue/invitation ($5,000) and travel, lodging and food ($1,000). It does not cover production costs or framing. The Southeast Museum of Photography has money earmarked for a catalogue ($10,000), shipping ($5,000), crating ($2,000) and travel expenses, lodging and food ($2,000). Their budget does not cover production costs. Since none of these venues is able to assist in production costs, I will have to cover this expense through a variety of fund raising strategies.
I am honored to have these opportunities to exhibit work from this ambitious new photo series in such prestigious venues. The “Montages” series is a powerful continuation of my work in manipulated photography and produces pieces which are both conceptually innovative and visually haunting.