Tufenkian Fine Arts is pleased to present, Seeing the Unseen, an exhibition of artworks by Kireilyn Barber, Meg Madison, Laura Parker, and Ram Dharam Walker. Seeing the Unseen explores the duality between the conspicuous and the undefined using old-school photographic processes.
Photography and its related methods have long been hailed for their precision in representing what is seen. The unseen, however, is immeasurable. Inspired by such rudimentary yet practical materials, these artists offer an investigation of making the unseen visual. Their recent investigations have collectively explored contemporary notions of place, association, permanence, memory, perception and abstraction.
Kireilyn Barber’s work experiments with random/chance events, systems, structures, and controlled tableaus and narratives, while routinely utilizing the visually compelling mix of materials and structures that suburban and urban environments provide. Barber’s random double exposed images on color film establish a relationship between the photographer’s and the camera’s “eyes” and the spatial juxtapositions that are accidentally created.
Meg Madison’s photograms of an ordinary object, a 100-foot length of rope, printed in cyanotype and developed on-site in an existing body of water transcend the object and indicate the atmospheric elements - the sun, wind, and water - which are apparent in their making. With this work, Madison explores the conception of the “invisible.” The rope, having left its mark the paper, is embedded inside the artwork but is not visible.
Meg MadisonSEWANHACKY, Isle of Shells
"The waters of Long Island pull me in them, the summer warmth familiar from childhood; this is where I make the sun prints for this book. I revisit “the 100-foot rope” - an ordinary tool of measurement marking the land for ownership - that I used to make cyanotypes at bodies of water in California in years before the pandemic. The rope leaving its shadow on the paper. This object, that measures and conceals flawed intention, turns abstract, redirecting attention to the earth, sea, wind, and sun. These prints are homage to the sand under my feet beneath the water, and tribute to the peoples who received the white incomers and shared the land." - Meg Madison, SEWANHACKY, Isle of Shells
Ram Dharam Walker
Ram Dharam Walker’s roughly hewn black and white photograms on silver gelatin paper are deeply interior and fragmented, like representations of the subconscious, and call to mind alchemy’s collision with the optical world. These images erupt from darkness and are made in darkness - a sort of nothingness of unknown and unseen content. They live in a world that is slightly on the edge of knowing, of beginning to understand what is here, but not quite fully formed into something we have seen, that we can recognize and put into some sort of context.
In the photographic works entitled “Rotations”, Laura Parker returns to the analog (darkroom printed) color photograph. These multi-image structures have been created so that the viewing experience alludes to a brief moment of time. These works, a nod to the kinetics of experimental film, partly spring from Parker's forays into digital film animation, but is also a new iteration of the artist's ongoing interest in time, structure and a playful dissection of the act of looking itself.
The individual photographs structured into these installations combine a projected negative and a photogram. This is a two-step process effected in complete darkness (with negatives, clear plates and bowls). The artist has applied this technique, quite specifically, to create circular images that float within a black field with a light ‘halo’ around the perimeter.
Laura Parker's Photo Rubbings are type c prints that were exposed to white light and then developed chemically, resulting in a pure black photograph. Parker discovered that by rubbing through the surface of the emulsion she could reveal the white paper base, as well as occasional bits of color that form the layers of the photographic paper. The end result is a delicate tracing of carefully selected objects; a “print” (the physical rubbing) on top of a print (the black photo.)
Each rubbed-image is held within a circle, a form the artist finds herself attracted to for its perfect balance, reference to optics, and paradoxical holding of both movement and stillness. The “images” are rubbings made from a small-scale labyrinth, a leaded window and an axe head; each is a perfectly reduced form that references both the ephemeral and the physical. By tracing over them they become vaguely architectural, but function is superseded by abstraction and the indexical becomes tactile.