April 19 – June 10, 2012
The Philadelphia Photo Arts Center is pleased to announce Remainder, a group exhibition including the work of Amy Beecher, Aspen Mays, Klea McKenna and Brent Wahl. Remainder is a term residing within the language of art and science that implies the end of an equation. This translates well into both the photography and broader art worlds as a metaphor for the process of creation. The exhibition presents a selection of each artist’s work that investigates the boundaries of abstraction within photography and seeks to reveal the shifting connections between surface and image.
Amy Beecher uses a range of media to create work that evokes elements of human bodily experience. Often, she uses her own bodily identity as a starting point, especially her transition from girlhood to womanhood. She is interested in paradoxes within the body: containment and expansion, entering and exiting, dirty and clean, vulnerable but covered. Her challenge is to find a visual language to describe bodily identity as a nuanced intersection of haptic experience, linguistic knowledge and material culture.
Aspen Mays’ project Sun Ruins brings together two major projects as they stand in a contradictory – yet mutually fulfilling – relationship to one another: one positivist, the other offering an interventionist and autonomous account on the limits of photographic depiction of celestial bodies. The series calls in to question the expectation of photography as
documentary and categorical, and explores the visualization of forms of knowledge in both studio art and observational practices. The Sun 1957 is the collective title of 25 silver gelatin prints that depict the Sun from a mid-century international survey of sunspots. Though the negatives used by Mays were possibly discounted from the official study on individual criteria, their quantity en masse begins to create an encompassing picture of the Sun for that year. Being that the film negatives were unearthed from the darkroom’s archive organized by month, Mays has arranged them similarly with some months filling multiple sheets, while other months are recorded by fewer images. By recontextualizing the negatives, the artist constructs a dynamic grid of both spatial and temporal consequence.
In Klea McKenna’s series Dark Star, the historic Theatre Artaud in San Francisco became both the artists subject and studio. Over the course of several nights, Mckenna used the black box of the theatre itself as a darkroom in which to make images of the shapes, objects and infrastructure that make up the theatre space. She used analog photographic paper and the colored gels used in stage lighting to create large photograms. In many cases the images were exposed by the slivers of light that seep into the darkened theatre, through cracks, curtained windows and under doorways. This method transforms the silhouette of familiar, utilitarian forms into vividly colored abstractions. Just as in theatrical performance, these images rely on the power of total darkness to conjure fiction and allow fantasy to arise.
Brent Wahl’s photography, installation, and time-based media work focuses on conjuring the undercurrent of our reality. Through the use of ephemeral materials, he makes low-tech, yet complex constructions that often teeter on the verge of collapse. These ‘situations’ are often transformed from 3D to 2D via photography or through a photo time-based media. The resulting work strives for subtle fluctuations of meaning – meaning that quietly investigates both the disparate and similar links between cultural occurrences, abstraction, time, architecture, illusion, and the spectacle.