After three months of having a place of my own to experiment, think and just spread out, I am now ready and really looking forward to hosting an open studio event to share my development and process from my postgraduate residency at Plymouth Arts Centre.
I have been putting together a flyer to handout to visitors.
ALL THAT EXISTS IS A NEGATIVE or Evidence of Absence
Batter Street Studio, Plymouth Arts Centre
Saturday 4th February 2017 1-5pm
About the work
Most of the Polaroids are of ordinary people, friends and families, whose lives are on the other side of the glittering façade we are used to seeing of Las Vegas and Los Angeles. There are hundreds of big groups smiling into the camera, newborn babies, cats and many Christmases amongst this collection.
Not wanting to create a nostalgic or ‘Family of Man’ type body of work, I was searching for the unusual shots. To do this I first had to work through all 5,000 Polaroids and sort them into categories. By doing this exercise I can find familiar faces and images that jump out at me. With these it was snapshots of unsuspecting people; people with their heads out of the photographic frame or asleep; empty furniture and most of all the damaged and marked Polaroids. As an artist these blemishes and defects are an integral part of what the photograph is now, as object and as image.
There are some extraordinary images amongst this vast archive. For example there are 20 images where the bed is made. One might think that all made beds are alike - peaceful, orderly and maybe a bit mundane, unlike unmade beds, more mysterious and which invite us to draw our own conclusions. But there is always a hint of human presence of a made bed, an indent on the pillow perhaps or the bedcovers slightly ruffled, ornaments about that provide clues to help create a mental image of their inhabitants. Also I have found an entire family; Vanessa, her sisters, mother and even her grandmother. I almost feel like part of the family.
However, my inspirations come from paintings and this project is very much about abstraction - the separation of components, taking them apart and putting them together differently. The work here today is just that, peeling the Polaroids apart and reconfiguring them to produce an image completely different to the original. Each photograph carries on it the marks of its own story and exists materially in the world as chemical deposits on paper and I use this concept to generate new ways of transforming the traditional ideas surrounding the status of the photographic document.
Part of the title All that Exists is a Negative is inspired by the work by Sofia Borges The Swamp (Images Do Not Exist).