ALUMINATURE is an exhibition that featured recent and current work, using the natural environment as a subject while incorporating aluminum as a substrate. In my art practice, I reference the photographic past in my present explorations with the landscape. Identity, my connection with the natural environment, nostalgia, and an obsession with symbolism are all present in this exhibition.
Earliest works from Alt-Country and ATTEMPTING UTOPIA, romanticize the unknown in both near and far away lands through dye sublimation printing onto clear aluminum. The raw surface comes to life under proper lighting and changes as one moves around it, representing the inevitable while instilling the inability to look away.
LUMINIFEROUS: ADVENTURES IN METAL follows from desire to continue working with a reflective surface while maintaining a hands-on approach in processing digital imagery through the use of digital image transfers. Using extra heavy duty aluminum foil purposefully distressed in a dishwasher, images are transferred onto large custom-made substrates that reference photographic plates used in creating tintypes, another 19th century process of direct positives on thin sheets of metal.
phyto- + -graphydiscards the lens entirely and documents procured plant specimens without a camera when aging aluminum plates with a slow development, solar cooking process. The work references both photograms of botanical specimens used as scientific illustrations and visions from the collective unconscious.
The evidence that people are drawn to shiny things is all around us: from shimmery advertisements in magazines and automobiles ads to glimmering gold iPhones. The use of aluminum purposefully attracts the viewer, inviting their engagement to the phenomena of the natural world, with the hope that appreciation of the work ultimately translates to the appreciation and protection of the natural environment.
ALUMINATURE was a featured exhibition in the 2017 Louisville Photo Biennial, a regional festival occurring in over 60 venues throughout Louisville, Lexington and Southern Indiana celebrating artistic excellence in this rich and diverse medium. The Photo Biennial represents a cooperative effort among local museums, galleries, universities and other public venues to give viewers the opportunity to learn about and to appreciate photography.
As a visual artist, you can be asked to submit a number of things when applying for grants, fellowships and artist residencies. It goes without saying that you need to have strong photographs that represent your work. If the images are weak, its a good chance that your submission is passed on looking into any further…simply because the competition is fierce and there needs to be some kind of rule for exclusion. Often times there are a handful of essays to complete, ranging from your biography, artist statement, and several about your project intentions and how being in a certain place will be a good fit for your work and process and ultimately serve your work.
And sometimes it is either asked or recommended that you submit a promo video of your work. This was the case in my recent submission to Haleakalā National Park Artist Residency in Maui, Hawaii.
I really loved the challenge of making this video because it has the power to illuminate so much more than simple jpg images of my work can do! And while it is simple, I love what I created…and wanted to share it with you!
My former job at the Haitian Art Company in Key West had a tremendous influence on my life. Established in 1976, this small family business still promotes, exhibits and sells one of the largest rotating collections of Haitian Art in the United States. A formative time in my life as both young artist and creative professional, I immersed myself in the study of Haitian arts, culture, religion and politics while learning how to operate a successfully established art gallery. I was particularly fascinated with the Vodou religion, it’s origin and history and how contemporary practices of Vodou incorporated elements and symbolism from Catholicism.
My first big trip to the island was planned to coincide with the holiday of Guede, more commonly known as Day of the Dead. I attended public vodou ceremonies, watched the ritual tending of graveyards and visited private temples. The gallery gave me unique access to Haitian artists and allowed me to experience the culture in a way that is unavailable to the average person.
In the fall of 2001, I made another big trip to the island…this time for two months where I traveled, largely solo, throughout the countryside. I had just received the South Florida Cultural Consortium award for images I shot in Haiti and felt the need to go back, give thanks and further my explorations of this complex and fascinating island.
Of the many adventures I experienced during that two month span, the most memorable was a 5 day road trip from Port-au-Prince to Cap-Haitien, made in a 1986 Buick LaSaber with renown artist Franz Zephirin. Zephirin was raised on his grandmother’s voodoo compound in Cap-Haitian and he took me there to show me ‘the real Haiti’. Through relatives of the compound, I was graciously given permission to document the grounds and record the events of a seasonal vodou ritual. The only stipulation was that I not use a flash or light of any kind. The only available light came from a single bulb in the center of the temple along with a few lit candles. The results are grainy with an often stop motion effect which appropriately adds an otherworldly quality to the footage. I had been to a handful of ceremonies prior to this experience, but this was by far the most authentic! The following is the video I created from that memorable night in Cap-Haitien…the original is 24:22 minutes…for some reason, I haven’t been able to upload the entire thing onto youtube after several tries (but still working on that)…however at 18+ minutes, it’s quite the investment time-wise to watch in it’s entirety…but is only a small glimpse into a spiritual experience that ties the body and soul together.
Ceremony for the Serviteur, Digital Video, 24:22 minutes, 2003