Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Prairie Abstractions: A Preliminary Artist Statement

This semester as part of my photography credits I am being asked to work on my artists statements. I must work through 3 drafts, the last of which is turned in with the final 30 images at the conclusion of the semester.

For someone who likes to write, artist statements do not come easily. I think I tend to default to my theological writing style that many just find arduous and technical. This recent attempt at commenting on the Elevator Series, seemed to emerge a little more poetically this time. Take a quick read. I would love any thoughts on it.

"As child growing up among the fertile soils of Iowa farmland, grain elevators were a frequent sight and destination. In a land known for flatness, these vertical edifices become a towns’ most prominent and recognizable architecture. They tower above the trees and cast far reaching shadows at the extremities of the day. In the fall, they become the swollen bellied depositories of the regions hard work and financial hopes. Here I would wait with my father in the train-like lines of tractors and wagons. In other seasons, as I passed through this busy hub on my bicycle, I would dodge its deep potholes worn into the pummeled ground by the over-loaded traffic.

While my recollections of these times and places are fragmentary, they still loom as large as the elevators themselves in my memory and imagination. This series is, in a sense, a return “home.” Not only to similar places that evoke long stored and now partial memories, it is a return to a first love of black and white photography. This pilgrimage of memory and method allows a continuation of work in regional architecture and geometric abstraction.

These images follow a long lineage of abstraction, particularly found in the modernist photographer and painter Charles Sheeler. They allow the bucolic and vernacular architecture to be continually transformed by the play of light and shadow that daily creep over and around the corrugated angles and lines.

This body of work attempts to push back on the tendency within photography to emphasize indexicality and objective realism while still conveying an accuracy of representation. Viewers are challenged to see beyond the literal reality into the fractured structural form and overall composition."