John Gintoff | Eleanor Sabin | Max Seinfeld | Kevin Van Aelst
West Gallery | April 16 – May 22, 2021
Although my artwork has always had a photographic base, it has vacillated from 2D photos to installation to sculpture. Marcel Duchamp said that an artist must constantly reinvent himself, and I have taken his words to heart going from series to series or medium to medium. This currant body of work is comprised of sculptures actually made from photographs.
This series arose from a desire to create something three dimensional out of my two dimensional photos and how to make them free standing. i decided to use multiple images and to use packing tape as the adhesive to bind them together. By denying the traditional “precious” aspect of the photograph’s surface, I freed myself and was able to crush the attached images into a 3D photographic structure that could stand up on its own.
Like most people, I do not often experience the vastness and the sublime beauty of wilderness. Instead my daily life is filled with examples of the conflict between the manmade and the natural world. I am fascinated by these zones of tension where the fabricated and the organic converge. Some of these places are obvious; a construction site for a new house, a retired landfill covered in grass, the ruin of a colonial era foundation in the woods. Others are more subtle; a field filled with bare stumps of trees cut in the clearing of land for a new building, a stream diverted to irrigate a farmer’s field, or a cultivated copse of trees foreign to the indigenous flora. These areas illustrate our relationship to the history of the places where we live, and the ways in which our impact continues to be recorded on the landscape around us.
In my imagery I interrupt an organic system with a synthetic one. I use color, shape, and form as emblems of man-made conflict embodied in the digital, the manufactured, the architectural, or the industrial. Superimposed on the landscape, these fabricated, geometric elements disrupt the depth and perspective established by the natural setting. As foreground and background occupy independent dimensions in my images, there is simultaneity in the relationship of the landscape and formal aspects but never convergence. Instead, the work hovers between the 3 dimensional space of the depicted environment and the 2 dimensional space of the picture plane. The effect is a feeling of reverberation, an echo of the discord between the unfolding organic setting and the interfering man-made elements.
Though I find inspiration for my drawings in my interactions with the landscape, I am not concerned with creating portraits of the places I encounter. Instead, I choose to depict scenes in which nature has been purposefully arranged and controlled - whether by my digital manipulation of reference photos or the portrayal of landscapes physically altered by others. In my drawings I interpret the characteristics of the made and the grown as a way of understanding our impressions and expectations of the natural world.
I create objects that examine the interplay of contrasting relationships such as the slight movement of a solid material or a coarse texture that looks soft. Studying compositional elements such as line, color, and texture allows me to create a sense of tension through contrasting materials or form. The interaction of artificial and natural color in each composition creates a playful quality that is drawn from observations in contemporary media such as the quality of the color pink in a bubble gum advertisement or the allure of a red Cadillac. Playing with a set of words that do not usually sit next to one another allows me to capture the sensation of a lingering touch, or a inching grip. Creating small scale solid objects allows me to stress the intimacy in size and the seductiveness of weight.
This work consists of photographs of photographs. Images from my life and travels have been printed and physically manipulated in the studio to become the content of the finished still life photographs you see now. This project deals with the malleability of our notions of truth and of memory, and the role of photography in representing both of these concepts. Photography, itself, strives to serve as a mechanical means of capturing how we experience moments in our lives, but it can never replicate actually living them. Nor can it be a substitute for the way our minds remember these moments. The alterations, modifications and manipulations made to the printed photographs represent how our memories become organized, packed away, altered, damaged, or changed within our consciousness and subconsciousness. This work aims to examine the relationship between photography, reality, and memory, and is also a contemplation of memory itself.