This week I am featuring artists exhibiting in Verve Gallery’s Do Process exhibition, showcasing eight unique approaches to the photographic process.
Brigitte Carnochan has been showcasing her exquisite hand-painted silver gelatin prints of nudes and still lifes for many year, and that’s exactly what she exhibits at the Verve Gallery. Brigitte begins her process by using a medium or large format camera to produce negatives rich with information. She then makes a black and white silver gelatin print with a matte finish. Finally, she judiciously and artistically applies oil paints onto the dried print. Some of her nudes take an hour to paint, whereas some of the still lifes can take up to as much as six hours to finish. Because each printis hand painted, no two of Brigitte’s hand-painted photographs in any edition are identical.
Brigitte’s photographs are represented in museum, corporate and private collections. Modernbook Editions published Carnochan’s hand-painted images, Bella Figura: Painted Photographs, in 2006. A limited edition monograph, The Shining Path, was also published in 2006 by 21st Publications. Carnochan was named a Hasselblad Master Photographer for 2003 and her work has been recently featured on covers of Camera Arts and Silvershotz and in Color, Lenswork, Zoom, View Camera, Polaroid, Black and White, and Studija magazines. Three catalogs of her previous work have been published. She teaches photography classes at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program.
Hand-coloring photographs, manually adding color to a black and white print, is almost as old as photography itself. The announcement of the invention of the Daguerreotype in 1830 was accompanied by an almost apologetic disappointment that there was an absence of color on the print. Daguerre and his successors tried assiduously to find a way to fix an image with the “colors of nature,” but without success. As early as 1841, a few of Fox Talbot’s assistants were experimenting by applying watercolor, oils, pastels, dyes, or color pencils to the matte-surface paper of calotypes. Quickly, hand-colored pictures became the norm for those wishing to have their photographic portraits ‘touched up.’ This hand-coloring craft took great skill and because of demand, many portrait painters of the time turned to becoming photographic print hand-colorists. You probably have photographs of your ancestors from the early part of the 20th century that are hand colored.
The photography world is hungry for new approaches to creating imagery as our current photographic environment speaks more to pixels and file sizes. Happily, there is a rebirth of exploring traditional and historical processes and a focus on the photograph as object. Heidi Kirkpatrick is creating three dimensional photographic sculptures after years in the darkroom producing traditional silver gelatin prints, that were, more often than not, tucked away in boxes. In an effort to work in a unique way, her photographs have found new homes and surfaces and they are getting lots of attention. Heidi will be giving a presentation on her work at the Portland Art Museum, as a part of their Brown Bag Lunch Talks, on January 18, 2012 at 12:00pm to 1:00pm. Her series, Specimens, was recently recognized as one of the Critical Mass Top 50 Portfolios. The image below was selected by Darius Himes for the traveling Critical Mass exhibition.
Specimens: I have had a lot of physical pain and have for many years. In my continual search for an answer, as well as my way of dealing with the unexplained, I dissect my Gray’s Anatomy book. The pages find their way into Specimens, layered under images of those closest to me. The illustrations bind, clothe and wrap the body. Putting the inside on the outside, I wear my heart on my sleeve. Reminiscent of nineteenth century cased images; Specimens are housed in small hinged tins that open and close to reveal or conceal the secrets they hold.
Heidi is a Portland photographer and artist, using found objects to create intimate and personal sculptures. Her work is mysterious, personal, and nostalgic. She explores themes of family, childhood, addiction, and pain. There is a sense of play present, but serious play that makes the viewer consider their own memories and insights. She has a book of her work, Lost and Found, through Blurb. The work below is gleaned from several series.
I am in love with film. All of my work is made with film. I shoot on film. I print on film. I do all of my own work in my darkroom. I like it dripping off my elbows. I do not use a lot of fancy equipment. My “models” are the people who are closest to me, my family and friends. I love layering the film positives over anything and everything I can think of or find. My studio is filled with found objects that inspire me, and photographs, lots and lots of photographs.
I use photographs to transform found objects into playful pieces of art. Fusing transparent figurative and family portraits with children’s toys and blocks, I create a playful tension between imagery and object. My work breathes new life into these found objects, yet they leave hints of the past in their lovingly worn appearances; the flecks of paint missing, and the soft corners worn down by tiny fingers and tumbling towers.
These works depart from the formality of a frame as they are arranged on a table top or a shelf, often stacked or placed side by side to reveal narratives of family snapshots, or the complexities of the feminine allure. In combination, I give you a chance to visit these earlier playful times while drawing on memories, contemporary issues, and visual formality.