Around Here

Towards a Continuous Moment

Around Here explores the codependence of motion picture temporality with the stasis of the fixed image through a capture technique developed by the artist known as the radial pan. During the exposure time of one second, the camera rotates precisely around the lens axis, which results in a radial smearing of the image. The effect is variable via the speed and degrees of camera rotation, exposure time, movement of the subject and/or the camera and subject lighting producing an image appearance with a range from a shake look to total abstraction.

The conceptual premise suggests that the dynamics of temporal media can be approached within a static representation without deferring to narrative. The movement in Around Here references itself as it does not go from A to B and has no apparent start or finish. This pure movement explodes the subject’s representation from the real to the abstract. Here temporality, i.e. movement, introduced during the exposure duration, so alters the images as to suggest that temporality could be the dominant element of representation rather than the depiction of space. The cryogenic stasis of the photograph is melted by the fire of movement to render a sustained instant or continuous moment; that is a sense of duration within an instant – one could say time taking place. Movement needs time and time needs space to be observable. The Around Here images are the products of an equation where space is the multiplicand, time is the multiplier and movement the operator resulting in the annihilation of representation and the emergence of a narrative that has no duration.

The analogue hand rotated camera integrates with a digital capture to manifest the continued relevance of the body to digital processes. The radial pan has a radicalizing effect on representation unlike anything in post capture processing but also reveals fundamental truths that are invisible to the real observer. The Light Rain and Light Wind pictures exposes the invisible off/on cycling of the LED lights which are rendered as discreet separate points rather than as streaks and, most obviously, in the fire series one can observe the changing flame pattern rather than a smear of a fixed pattern. The ability to see change within a fixed moment foregrounds the paradoxical essence of the photograph as a piece of a larger process but at the same time also a wholly self-contained, fictional signifier representing only itself.

Around Here constitutes six on-going series. Light Rain, based on Christmas lights, employs a circular motif, with the center dominating the visual field, in a tradition shared by Claude Tousignant painting, the Op Art of Victor Vasarely, circular motifs used by Douglas Coupland, Kristi Malakoff’s Target and Nadia Mre’s Meditations series. This dynamic simultaneously suggests an explosion and implosion with apparent movement greater at the perimeter and practically still in the centre. The colloquial term dead centre reinforces the theoretical notion that at the infinitely small centre of a rotation there is no movement, however, experience tells one that this is neither true nor physically possible. Does the centre in these images become a model or metaphor for consciousness i.e. the self surrounded by the environment where everything from quarks to the Large Quasar Group is in motion. Perhaps the centre represents death as a transcendental stasis free of the constrains of space and time once again resonating the complex interdependence the still and moving image share. The funnel effect lays claim to a viewer’s need to recognize and assign meaning and narrative to space. Inasmuch as, the center appears to be in a deeper space yet all circles are known to be on a uniform plane.

In theLight Wind pictures, the circular motif has been shattered by camera movement during capture. This ferments a more narrative reading, as something appears to have happened and the urge to recognize precipitates comparisons to perhaps Hubble images of deep space. The exposure/movement factor assumes mythic status here as it reforms spatial representation by giving visual substance to temporality. The pictures seem to attest to a plastic space that is always before us but not recognizable without the intervention of a mediating apparatus, the camera. Abstraction, especially in photography, usually requires text to assuage the surrealism of not knowing. As such, the titles for these pictures strike a melancholic chord of Zen like dissonance rather than precipitate a collapse of wonder with an affirmation of recognition.

The Real Thingsseries of images negotiates the agreement that allows painting to do what it pleases but holds photography accountable to the real world. The concern here is the formal transgression resulting from a gesture at capture that results in an image that remains oblique even with the correct answer to the “what is it” question. Curiously, the need to understand the image via its content can be satisfied with even a fictional answer suggesting that an encounter with all representation is latent with insecurity of not recognizing. These photographs remain mute in response to the request for real things to appear in a photograph; they rest in a territory between painting and the real image hardly seeming to be photographs but digital studies of concentricity at an undefined moment of spatial expansion or collapse. Their production is a product of an analogue gesture, a stand alone exposure, without a digital post-process, the antithesis of digitality making them just simple photographs rather than new media. Their photographic DNA calls for a narrative validation; were they digital art they could remain unexplained. The titles for this image series represents the real subjects, often obliquely, and the dissonance of title to image speaks of the uneven relationship of image and text.

The framework for the Screen Play imagery acknowledges the screen as the site of our increasing engagement for communication and information exchange. A screen relies on the fundamental illusion of the phi phenomena to display movement and the radial pan interacts with this optical illusion shattering the normal image into fragments of itself. The Screen Play images reveal that both static and moving images never coalesce but remain always in a temporary virtual state as fragments only appearing to be homogeneous due to the limitations of the observer’s vision. These images never appeared on screens, yet here they are now as stand-alone images that attests to the impermanence and tenuous nature of what we now use as our primary information interface, the screen.

The Continuous Moment pictures fuse a discreet point, the photograph, and duration as one document. The problem with watching a film is that in order to experience change one is subjected to an artificial temporal context that one cannot control and the problem with looking at an image is that it is temporally fixed and never changes. The apparently still, distinct point in the centre of these pictures shares the same space/time as the continuous circles surrounding it suggesting a theoretical state of simultaneous stasis and movement with the centre as the photograph and the radiating circumference as duration, the movie. The photographic act here is one of transforming what was there into an image independent of its real history. The Continuous Moment images are titled to avoid a direct link to what was in front of the camera at exposure but to obliquely resonate with psychic notions rather than physical states.

Fire is a multifaceted phenomenon, which we have a deep physical and psychic relationships with. It is temporally dynamic and like a film is a chimera but with real physical properties; it is a durational event rather than an object and in the fire images one can discern the flame pattern recorded during the exposure time spread over the circular shape. In a sense all these pictures, but particularly the Fire series, take the exposure duration, which is linear, and bend it into a circle so the start and end of exposure are connected forming a closed loop reminiscent of the film loop. Each image is theoretical model of a self-contained mini movie.

These titles references fire’s psychic prominence as per the many words and idioms that contain fire. This body of work is similar to a typology but without the grid presentation or objective photographic rendering as here the radial pan is the subjective formal strategy that displaces the typical objective formal strategy associated with typology work. Fire comforts and terrifies us; it is a terrible beauty. The flames have a raw sensuality and a latent violence and feel as if they are moving yet are frozen – fire is not immune to photography’s cryogenic grip.

Chromatic Accelerator by Claude Tousignant, Gary Lang paintings, the circle paintings of Damien Hirst, Jeremy Hof’s sanded paintings and the sculptural installations of Richard Long are a few works that share commonality, via the circular motif, with this work. The circle is a form that we understand just by looking at; it seems to be narrative free and hence immune to temporality. The purity of the circle is contextualized by the rectangular frame that represents the real, physical world containing our aspirations, dreams, hopes and desires that are the circles. The dynamic, explosive circles contained by the rectangle of the photographic print foregrounds photography’s physical limits and the problem that an image has when it becomes an object. Here the radial pan, a kind of Zen perfect movement, makes the camera a device for obfuscation; the Around Here pictures are one single exposure without filters or postproduction processing that obliterates recognition.

The images are archival lightjet prints mounted on 30 X 43” aluminum with a UV coating. The panel is reinforced on the back with an aluminum frame that mounts to a French cleat on the wall. Each image is an edition of five.

About Photography

Pictures

A selection of images that do not cohere to a unifying conceptual theory, follow a consistent methodology of production nor exhibit similar formal characteristics consistent with a typology or artist series. Rather these pictures evoke the alchemical potential of independent images associated but not collaged together while others exist on their own. These images are not in editions or series but available as on demand unique works in a variety of formats.

Use't be Trees

The unloved stump displays a quiet beauty; these silent monuments are brooding with latent narrative and testify to the certainty of entropy exuding a sad beauty. In British Columbia stumps left from trees cut up in the recent past up to 140 years ago remain as silent monuments to what was. As photography is about bringing the past into the present these images refer to the photographic act as much as they are about soft colors and form of entropy as a long and ongoing process.

Name Your Poison

The cigarette has been granted the most regal of names proof that a name, essentially an image, can transcend the physical.

About Photography Archive

A selection of camera based image making representing themes and interests from 1972 to the digital age.

Collage

Using mainly post cards these images represent the collision of ideal picture subjects, travel pictures and personal sources. The images are available as approximately 16” X 24” archival pigment prints, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5.

Kodachrome

Drawn from a large collection of 35mm, mostly Kodachrome, slides these images represent a photographic practices that encompassed a documentary and constructed aesthetic over a range of subjects. The images are available as approximately 16” X 24” archival pigment prints, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5.

Little Things

Close up photography blows thing way out of proportion and imbues the subject with a newly acquired meaning through scale. The images are available as approximately 24” X 36” archival pigment prints, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5.

One Thousand Dollar Bill Project

Money is the original art print and has its own presence beyond the monetary value it represents. The one thousand dollar bill, now discontinued, is an icon in itself and has a greater meaning than ten one hundred dollar bills. Some images are also documentation of the $ 1000 dollar bill T-shirt project survived by a few original T-shirts and the silk screen print She Sure Fits the Bill, 20” X 28” a reproduction of the front page of the Vancouver Province daily newspaper August 17, 1977,edition of 16. The images are available as approximately 16” X 24” archival pigment prints, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5.

Pin Hole

Reducing photography to its elemental essence of light falling (light does not really fall) on light sensitive material produces images from the artist’s personal environment. The images are available as approximately 6.5” X 9” archival pigment prints on 8.5” X 11” paper, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5.

Santa

Made in collaboration with Sir Real these pictures take the familiar and recombine it with the familiar to reflect on and satirize assumed meanings and contexts. The images are available as approximately 16” X 24” archival pigment prints, edition of 10 and some as 40” X 60” ink jet on canvas, edition of 5. Also available are unique period color prints approximately 30” X 40” of some images.

The Penitent

Covering the face for ceremonial or ritualistic purposes has currency in many cultures. Outside of an indicated formal cultural the practice, these self-portraits in a western modern urban context initially read as a humorous parody but upon further consideration and with the nuance of time resonate with multiple conflicting readings. Decades ahead of the current meaning for the hooded figure in today’s global context the penitent sublimates personal identity as an act of universality rather than to obscure identity for evil doing and comments on/mocks the current importance of identity security, anonymity/privacy and cultural practices. The images are available as approximately 16” X 24” archival pigment prints, edition of 10.