Here is an installation view, photographed by Bridgette Bogle, of Rose Red Pajama Pants which is on view at Sinclair Community College’s Triangle Gallery. It is on view “sometimes”, if one is willing to open the black curtains. This is an idea I appropriated from a traveling exhibition of William Henry Fox Talbot’s Callotypes and paper negatives on view at the Museum of Photographic Arts in the late 1990’s. There are hooks on either side to keep the curtains open so that viewers can step back from the work to get a proper view. In borrowing the Chinese proverb “the faintest ink is more powerful than the best memory, I will substitute fugitive or transient. Given enough time and exposure, these transient pigments will become the faintest of inks and may then be hardly better than the best memory.
Last night I did a bit of art documentation including a painting by Bridgette and lots of the anthotypes from the residency. Here is one of the more successful pants anthotypes made using rose petal emulsion on Arches Cover. The exposure was about 13 days (it came down on August 17th, a day before I left Boston).
Male art (I used ken doll bathrobe) or, more accurately, mail art is a fitting end to the residency. As part of an exchange with friends left back mostly in Ohio, I promised handmade postcards if they put together a mixed CD of what they were listening to. I got beautiful compilations from Dayton, Columbus and Baltimore which went a long way to making the tedious task of grinding plant pigments or meticulously washing Vandyke Brown prints more pleasant. I was at a loss for ideas. What should I send my DJ’s back in return for their contribution. Initially the postcards were going to be small Vandyke Brown prints, then it became anthotypes, and then I just ran out of time and good sunny days with which to expose. Artists don’t solve problems, they make them and sometimes, if they are lucky, they get someone else to solve the problem.
I sent my three collaborators a rose petal emulsion coated piece of Arches Cover covered by taped on transparency of an image appropriated from an Ebay auction. The image is a Ken doll bathrobe (in keeping with my somnambulist theme).
The mail art cards are a work in progress to be completed by the three recipients. They all need a little bit more exposure before the transparency is separated from the anthotype coated paper. Maybe another week in a sunlit window. Perhaps one or more of the three recipients will elect to not put the anthos in the window and not separate the transparency from the paper. They could be done, after all isn’t completion is in the eyes of the receiver?
Tomorrow, or rather today, is the last day of the residency. The four artists are scheduled for an exhibition (one day only) and reception from 4-7 pm on the fourth floor of the Administration building. I am showing five of the anthotypes including two of the grass emulsions which turned out very different from each other. I will elaborate in a post later this week, time permitting. In the meantime, here is a tease for the exhibition tomorrow: the rose and grass anthotype next to each other. Looking at all of the anthotypes on the wall, it is a family affair and they all are somnambulists.
Fewer days remain of the residency, especially studio days. Today, tomorrow, then clean up and pick up Bridgette (Bogle) from the airport. After that, except for the Emmanuel College Artist in Residence Exhibit on Tuesday, I will be a Beantown tourist.
Monday I was in assistant mode. I worked with Darien Johnson on a project in which transparencies are viewed simultaneously to deconstruct and construct the image for the viewer depending on where they stand to look. That was early afternoon. Later that day I met up with Sasha Ndam who is a student in Cynthia Fowler’s Contemporary Art and Artistic Practice class. She asked me to help her create a portrait of herself in Vandyke Brown. Except for the camera and Photoshop work Sasha chose the image and did all of the chemistry work herself. This in effect makes Sasha a new Kallitypist (vandyke brown is one of the kallitype processes). I was what could be described as her historical photographic processes consultant. In my dealing with the students in Cynthia’s course, Sasha has seemed the most engaged with what the four of us artists in residence are doing (she asks good questions). Look below for an example of her work.
On my plate is the making of three postcards destined for friends who sent me a mixed tape (CD) to keep my ears happy this summer. Thank you for the tunes. I haven’t forgotten my promise and that’s what this entry is about…partially.
Anyone who dives whole heartily into the wonderful world of anthotypes will at some point wonder about their lifespan or more specifically, how ambient room light may affect the image. I decided to test out a fluorescent light fixture here in my studio by using the it as an exposure source for paper that has just been coated with red rose petal emulsion. I’ve stacked boxes on top of boxes on top of a cart directly below a ceiling light I can’t shut off. The anthotype will get exposed to light around the clock, 24/7.
What is being exposed? Why the very postcards I promised at the beginning of my residency! What is the image of? Only the three people who responded to the Mixed CD request will find out. For a hint, see the picture below. Just in case this doesn’t create much of an anthotype, I will also put an rose petal emulsion paper and light resist up in a south facing window in the science wing (or perhaps set up another outdoor frame). I’ll know in 24 hours how practical the “stack o boxes” is going to be as an exposure method. Officially, I began the exposure at 6 pm on August 6th.
A little break from the anthotypes. Here is a companion Vandyke brown print for apple which I will simply title plum. Here is the back story: the fruit was rescued from the Emmanuel College cafeteria fruit bins. The freckled pattern seemed like it would be a good subject for the scanner and, eventually, the Van Dyke brown process. This is a test print (8.5 x 11) which has a strong contrast in the original which I’ve toned down a bit in the scan seen here. The final size will be approximately 16 x 20 inches.