Wednesday, December 14, 2011

Cathode Rayograms

As a graduate student studying painting, I became interested in exploring ways of making an image without the direct use of my hand. I wanted the image to function in the way that a painting does: using abstract qualities of light, color, and shape to convey meaning. I also thought it was important to find ways of making a mark that were fully contemporary in that the process acknowledge the role of technological mediation in our lives.

As I pursued this goal in multiple ways, my studio began to look more like a laboratory and less like an artist’s workspace. I turned to photography to give me both the distance from the hand and the connection to technology I had been seeking. One body of work that came out of this investigation is the Cathode Rayograms.

CR 2002-085

detail of CR 2002-085

The images in this series are enlarged photograms, ranging in size from about 40 x 30 to 60 x 48 inches. The photograms are generated by the light a TV set emits as it is turned off. Abstract and ambiguous, yet based in the factuality of the photographic process, I am interested in the connection between the mechanical basis of the image's creation and the images’ metaphorical and psychological possibilities. This mechanical “gesture” connects our culture’s obsessive involvement with technology to what have been enduring concerns in the history of art: the nature of light as metaphor and abstraction as archetypal form.

CR 1994-005