Word-Based

 

I identified as a writer before I did as an artist. Words were never a problem for me, until the last few years, where phenomena such as “information exhaustion” and “doomscrolling” seemed to take their toll and silence me. As I found myself unable to verbalize the onslaught of personal and political events that have transpired, my work evolved into a distillation of my reactions into a singular word or number. I use stencils to apply a resist onto silver gelatin photo paper, and process the prints to create chemigrams. I then cut these prints, rearrange them to disrupt the letterforms, and either sew them into singular physical pieces, or construct them into sculptural works. The abstraction of the stenciled letters mirrors my inability to find words that fully represent my emotions by rendering the language indecipherable. Instead, I embed the essence of the word and its significance into a physical, stitched photographic piece.

My formal concerns with this work involve using wood and thread to equate the photographic paper to a sculptural material. I observe parallels between sewing and analog photography, in that both sewing machines and silver gelatin prints were once considered more automated technologies, but nowadays, both are viewed as involved in the creation of “hand-made” objects. These pieces celebrate photographic paper as a physical medium, more than simply the substrate upon which an image from the outside world rests. By creating chemigrams, silver gelatin paper is freed to accomplish its essential property: to record the presence of light – a process firmly rooted in science but which also holds an allure akin to magic.