Wayne Martin Belger
Thinking Inside the Box
Wayne will present a hands-on study of the importance of creating work through personal history and vulnerability. He will lead an exploration of historic and present techniques of creating vulnerable work and its powerful connection with the viewer. He’ll use several of his handcrafted cameras for a demonstration of the creative process and of how the art of creating the tools that create art further drives and exposes the artist.
Working with long intervals of time to photograph the sun overhead offers the opportunity to trace its path across the sky, hinting at the rotating earth beneath us. Each photograph becomes the direct, physical evidence of one lived day.
With the help of an amazing sculptor at Bennington College, John Umphlett, I designed and built a variety of portable/collapsible 20×24 inch pinhole cameras and travelled with them around North America between 2003 and 2007. Art residencies in California, Colorado, Wyoming, and New Mexico, as well as at my own residence in Vermont, offered the opportunity to make daily recordings of the sun in a wide variety of conditions and seasons.
Historically, photography has been utilized for documenting moments in time, people, and things. It has been used as evidence of what exists or has existed. Though we sometimes know that what we are viewing is not always the complete truth (Mathew Brady’s Civil War images for example), we allow the reality presented in the photograph to become what we accept as truth. Using his own work as a guide, John Metoyer will discuss how his images are the creation and documentation of fabricated realities.
He will explain how he views his image making as a merging of 19th, 20th, and 21st century processes, tools, and techniques. John will describe his use of digital manipulation and photography’s rich history to create what have been described as, “…strange, deeply moving, often terrifying yet beautiful photographs [that] come from a unique, magically real world of his own making, a world that can both comfort and disturb” (Wood, 2008).
Mixing Things Up: Image-Object Hybrids
Beverly Rayner will present a brief overview of her work, illustrating how the conceptual foundation of each piece drives her choices in the selection and combination of a wide range materials and processes. Rayner fuses photographic imagery – including her own traditional, alternative process and digital images as well as found prints, negatives or x-rays – with a wide array of both new and found materials and objects, producing what she refers to as image/object hybrids. To Rayner, the photograph is as much a physical object as it is an image, and she alters and manipulates her photographic materials in a multitude of ways.
Rayner’s work takes a look at how we navigate through life in this world, how we interact with each other and how we negotiate with nature through science and technology. Her fascination with the psychological foibles of human nature leads her down many paths; her work can examine anything from personal relationships and memory to the power of belief and perception to surveillance devices and genetic research.
You Are Now
Josephine will address the value of individual witness and imagination in producing art and her belief that if art is to have authenticity it must come from the inside. These things will be discussed along with issues of dogma, fashion, and their detrimental effect on expression.
It has been over 35 years since I had my first antique photographic processes class at Visual Studies Workshop in Rochester, NY and that original class sparked a passion that set me on a trajectory that has made me the artist I am today. My life has been an interesting confluence of teaching and making work. I have really enjoyed the opportunity to be the consummate researcher as ‘required’ by my dedication to teaching. I have been enriched both by looking at work locally and internationally and I have remained au currant with all that is going on with antique and alternative practice. I have inspired many a student in my over 25 years of teaching Antique and Alternative Processes at Rhode Island School of Design and in turn I have been impressed with the beginner’s energy of many a student experimenting in antique processes.
I have had a rich artistic career beginning with my early work in antique processes, which was involved in ‘extending the frame’ as I never considered one image to be sufficient. I quickly moved from relief and sculptural work to whole scale installations. Throughout the years I have been honored by being included in a number of important survey exhibitions of antique and alternative processes due I believe to my unusual approach to the medium. I remember, in one exhibition I was excited to be exhibiting with a former teacher, Keith Smith and now many of my former students are now doing arresting work in the processes as well. In this sense of exchange I will present a survey of my work that will include influences from the beginning to my latest installation at Tilt Gallery in April. Likewise I will present some accomplished former student work and finally the work of a new mentor. I am as surprised as anyone to find myself an “accidental student” learning from a master with a similar spirit that started me on my journey 35 years ago.
Much of my photographic work indirectly relates to the death 39 years ago of my older brother Rick. The subject matter of the work varies, it can be woodlands, industrial landscapes or the backyard garden but there is often an emotional weight and darkness to the imagery. The processes change as well, the woodland photographs are black and white camera images, and the industrial landscapes are the same and then hand-colored. The garden series, which began after the birth of my son started as pinhole work, transitioned to view camera images and is now in the form of camera-less, botanical photograms or direct scans. I’ve also produced a few photographic installations. Responding instinctively to my subject, experimenting with materials and adding an element of chance are all constants in my work.
My husband Kevin died suddenly six years ago and now all of my work directly relates to death and life. The series “Grief Work” is actually a post-mortem collaboration with my husband. It’s about the final stage of the grief process, emotional relocation, staying connected and maintaining positive memories of the departed. “From the Same Bulb” is an ongoing project that started in 2005. The work deals with rituals, specifically garden rituals and art making rituals as part of the healing process. Living with death my entire adult life has informed my art practice.
I will show the progression of this work starting with the pinhole garden series, “Garden Artifacts” and “Close to Home”, this work encompasses many alternative processes including Vandyke brown, Cyanotype and Hand Coloring. The next work discussed in the talk, “Sugar Maple” “Grief Work” and “From the Same Bulb” explore botanical subject matter as camera-less images. And the final photographs discussed will cover a work in progress dealing with our accumulation of things and the things one leaves behind.
David Emitt Adams
Conversations with History
As an artist who is enthralled with photography, I gain pleasure from exploring its past and discovering how that past relates to where the medium is today. Photography is in the era of megapixels and I have made the conscious decision to embrace the processes and elements of display from photography’s past. This is not to say that I have rejected the digital era. I, too, own a digital camera, but have chosen to conduct a constant search to understand everything photography is, and could be. In the piece 36 Exposures, I have used 35mm film canisters that were discarded by my “Introduction to Photography” students as a base to hold their portraits. I employed a labor-intensive, 19th century, chemical photographic procedure known as the wet plate collodion process to make the students’ photographs on the very film canisters that played a crucial role in their initial understanding of photography. The canisters and the process I used speak of the evolving nature of photography, representation, and culture. By mining the history of photography, I can find the relevance of my work today.
Anne Arden McDonald
This project is about developing processes by which to make imagery on photographic paper without using a negative, to allow myself to have a dialogue with my materials while still working with light, paper and chemistry. Some of these processes include making contact prints of objects, painting with bleach on blackened photo paper, and building layered piles of glass and eggshells and exposing them with a flashlight to make an exposure. I tested 80 medicines, spices and household cleaners by painting them onto photo paper, before developing and fixing the image. I also built areas out of glue, and then dug down to the photo paper surface with alternating developers and fix to create an image on the paper. Some of the images were made in the dark and some in daylight, some processes are additive and others are reductive. I have been developing these processes and using them to make this series of images about circles and spheres, meant to represent planets and atoms, to visualize the macrocosm and the microcosm of life as we know it.