IMAGES OF OURSELVES 2018
Julie Nester Gallery
February 23rd - March 27th
Park City, Utah
Artist Reception: Friday, February 23rd
New Works on Aluminum and Paper
A Savage in the Laboratory
To Whom it May Concern,
There has been a break in at the laboratory. It appears that, during the months we were away, someone has been living in the space and using our sensitive equipment. Somehow, without training or technical experience they have created images which include, not only our likenesses, but other mysterious shapes and symbols. We have gathered them together here to show you.
Our laboratory is remote and I have been aware for some time, that there are creatures living in the forest around us. Last year, along the shore, I found bare foot prints in the snow. And many times blurred movements at the edge of my vision have attracted my attention. But when I look, just a swaying branch, or nothing. I have always had the sense I was being seen.
On our return from a winter break, when we first unlocked the doors and turned on the lights, my first thought was that we had been vandalized. But seeing that none of the equipment is missing or obviously damaged makes the whole event more confusing. New developments confirm that, whoever these primitive creatures are, at least one of them has an interest in us beyond warm dry shelter. I found evidence that our visitor had even looked in our files. Without knowing our language, it is hard to imagine what this information would mean to them.
But what has been most surprising is their apparent attempt to communicate back to us. They have left us these objects, images of ourselves. We have no idea what they mean.
Part of my painting process involves searching for images which move me in some way. Again and again I find myself drawn to images from the early days of photography; the late 1800’s and early 1900’s. I feel a sense of wonder, following in my mind the path that light has taken over 100 years, to reach me here in my studio.
Imagine: in 1900 sunlight reflects off a face and registers on a light sensitive plate. That impression is printed and finds it’s way into a book which I, in turn, scan, print, and manipulate. Here now, under this light, in this time, I work with the very same patterns generated by that long ago light.
I am aware of the time, attention, and effort of those who created these images. For this body of work: “Images of Ourselves” I want to acknowledge two photographers working around 1910: Frank Eugene and Baron A. de Meyer. They both produced stunning photogravure prints, where an image produced from a photographic negative is transferred to a metal plate and etched in.
While visiting the east coast several years ago I discovered another source image in a small book written by Carol Miles about Walter Sargent, an artist and educator working in New England around 1900. I was particularly attracted to some small intimate snapshots with notes written across the top taken in 1901 on his honeymoon with his bride Emma.
In our time so much information, including imagery, is at our fingertips. It’s so mysterious and satisfying to participate in this visible manifestation of connection across time, where memory and light are made tangible.