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A Portion of the Universe / The Bright and Hallowed Sky – M. Apparition

Making art is a calling. I am an interdisciplinary artist working at the confluence of science and photography. A native New Yorker, I slouched through darkrooms in San Francisco and Prague, calling it education, until I returned home smitten with light.

As a teaching assistant at the International Center for Photography I had the run of the darkroom, using up to three enlargers if no one else needed them. So began an in-depth exploration of black and white printing, both from negatives and camera-less processes. I got itchy, though, and crossed the hall to colour and stayed there.

Eventually I ditched negatives altogether and began to paint with light on chromogenic paper. Before picking up a camera – and then putting it down – I made welded-steel and cast-glass (but not together) sculpture. The attraction to these materials is visceral.

I’m interested in the intangibles: time, memory, and light. Always light.

In ‘A Portion of the Universe / The Bright and Hallowed Sky’, celestial bodies define a portion of the universe that hasn’t been mapped. Within the vastness of outer space, it’s a personal, invented cosmos, open to interpretation by the viewer.

It all starts with experiments, combining techniques used in my previous series ‘Nest’ and ‘Nest (memory)’. This body of work also follows on from ‘Nest’ conceptually, the idea of home.

A note on the process – chromogenic paper is exposed to room light and processed conventionally. Using a variety of corrosive chemicals, the emulsion of the c-paper is then selectively stripped, revealing the layers of colour it is comprised of: cyan, magenta, yellow. By integrating the chemical reactions of the c-paper with the gestures of painting, the results are unpredictable and echo the state of the unknown. In some of the prints, crystals form as the corrosives dry, giving the surface uncommon depth and an unexpected shimmer. The process is of my own devising and is proprietary.

“I’m more interested in seeing what the material tells me than in imposing my will on it.”

– John Chamberlain

When I first saw the work of Mariah Robertson, I was floored. A door didn’t just open, it flew off its hinges. I stared and stared at the print, I don’t remember the title, but it was a gorgeous abstract splash of colour on c-paper, one corner torn as if the scissor cut didn’t make it all the way. The print was mounted in the frame at a slight angle. Everything about it said “piece”, not just “print”.

For comic relief, I’m reading the novels of Tim Dorsey. He’s effing bonkers. /

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