Thursday, January 31, 2008

"Color Swap" @ Unblurred this Friday.

I really didn't anticipate having a show of my work so soon after becoming a father. Putting together a solo ordinarily requires a lot of work, and I simply didn't think I'd be able to find the time to do it. But when Laura Jean over at the Clay Penn (5111 Penn Avenue) asked me to hang some photos as part of February's Unblurred, it was too tempting to pass up. The last time I had work at this event was all the way back in September/October 2005, at the now defunct Arrow Gallery. That was the "Works on Paper" show, and it was the first time I showed my drawings on phone-book pages. I've been attending the monthly installments of Unblurred for years, but I just haven't followed up on any opportunities to display my work there.

Another reason why I thought twice about exhibiting work is because I've been fortunate enough to be asked to participate in a number of shows over the past twelve months. I've had two solos, and I've been in multiple group shows. The last thing I want to do is to exhaust whatever small amount of interest people have in my work. I figure that I have a limited amount of occasions that I can request my friends and acquaintances to devote their limited free time to me. At some point the novelty simply wears off. Likewise I don't want to display the same images in different places over a short time span. Still, several of my friends who are accomplished artists have encouraged me to seize any chance to get my artwork into the public eye.

So anyway, I will have ten framed 11 x 14" photos on the walls of the Clay Penn this Friday night. They are part of a series that I took well over a year ago. Although I was pleased with the way they turned out at the time, they got buried in a backlog of shots that I eventually intended to show. There weren't enough of them to fill a large gallery, and yet they had to be shown in a series in order to convey their context. I waited for awhile for the right time to pull them out, but eventually I simply forgot about them. When I considered the spatial limitations of the Clay Penn, the series immediately jumped out as the most appropriate body of work to show. At the same time, I think that they fit the space itself very well, and complement the more permanent work that is always on display at the gallery.

These photos are the result of serendipity. I was at a my friend's bar in the South Side with a couple of friends, one of whom happened to have her Canon point-and-shoot camera with her. I asked to borrow it for a few minutes, and discovered a function called "color swap". To use the setting you simply get a light meter reading off of any source in your environment. Somehow the processing chip inside the camera takes the quality and color of that reading and inverts the rest of the visible scale accordingly. I took about 30 portraits and other shots over the next hour. They are vividly colored, and slightly hallucinatory. In some ways they relate to the Pop Surrealist paintings that I have been slowly accumulating over the last several years.

I'm looking forward to seeing how those familiar with my work respond to these photographic prints. I'll probably be explaining the process by which I shot them, over and over again. It's important to me to point out that I did no post-production adjustments to them at all. I've never used Photoshop or any other editing program to tweak my photos. I don't have anything against those tools... I just haven't gotten around to playing with them yet. Regardless I think these shots are fun to look at, and so they meet at least one important criteria. They represent momentary slices of neon-lit nightlife that my friends and I have shared time and again. Come out and join us for the opening reception- this Friday (Feb. 1st) from 7-9PM.

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