… where nothing is real.”
Well, very little, anyway! This is a section of the wall of my study, bedecked with some inspirational images by a host of brilliant, mostly young, artists working with photography, photographs, collage, still-life, digital processing, and a few other things that I don’t even understand! They’re mainly based in North America, but there are a few European artists in there, too, and they explore the boundaries of what a digital photographic image might be – in 2014 & beyond. It’s a selection – there are several more who might have been in there. I’ve spent a fair bit of my time this week building up some inspirational sources – quite a few of whom I already knew from previous research but some of whom are new to me. This was the best way I could think of to keep their work in my mind as I look to move on with my own studio projects.
For example, there is:
- Dutch artist couple Scheltens-Abbenes who produce commissioned still-life constructs for some high-end commercial brands but who also explore personal projects using ‘cut-outs’ to create immaculately presented images that attract and confuse at the same time. I’d love to see some of their work in large prints! I like the way that they are prepared to leave clues about the nature of their constructs and the way they sometimes use ordinary materials – like a cardboard box.
- New York-based artist Artie Vierkant, who certainly began studying Photography but whose work has truly moved towards the proverbial ‘cutting edge’. His images start as digital files, which are then printed onto an aluminium composite material – dibond – which can be cut and formed to develop sculptural qualities. Documented as photographic images ‘in situ’ on the ‘gallery wall’, that documentation becomes a separate work in its own right, changing and evolving as it is distributed via the internet. He is one of a group exploring what he calls ‘post internet’ art and issues such as ‘ubiquitous authorship’, ‘the collapse of physical space in networked culture’, and the ‘infinite reproducibility and mutability of digital materials’. I don’t claim to understand all of it, but I admire and respect the way in which it operates in the ‘now’.
- Daniel Gordon’s work has featured in Hotshoe and BJP of late. He appropriates found images – usually from the internet – then cuts and forms them, in a deliberately raw manner, to create brightly coloured still-life and portrait images, which he then photographs to produce the final work. Some are delightfully simple and some are fascinatingly complex, but they all raise questions. How does this ‘junk’ (his word!) turn into something so beautiful (my word!) and interesting? My answer – that’s the fascination of the artistic process!
- And many others such as Jordan Tate; Jessica Eaton; Fleur Van Dodewaard; and Delphine Burtin – to name but a few.
As planned in my last post, this was about returning to research on other artists operating in the fields of studio experimentation, still-life, digital manipulation etc – as a source of inspiration and ideas to progress my own work. There is plenty to go at! It is reassuring to find so many artists doing so much that is interesting – though a little daunting at the same time. Not for the first time, I reflect that so many young photographers/artists are drawn to their studio to experiment with ideas that are essentially focused on the medium itself, and its processes. It isn’t a new phenomenon, of course, but it must reflect a degree of unrest, uncertainty, change and challenge – which is a positive phenomenon. There is a strong sense of ‘play’, but relatively little evidence of any attempts to create work that is designed to change anything or move anyone. That makes me reflect on my own images the ‘respond to events’. I can’t quite decide whether it encourages me to explore them with greater enthusiasm or drop the idea altogether! It certainly suggests that there are not large numbers of people out there doing something similar – or I haven’t found any, at least.