New Screen Series
I have always thought about screens as physical objects, as apparatus that one both sees through and sees. In the late 1980s and ‘90s I shot several series through a dense black screen which revealed its subjects only through lighting. In this current body of work, I have been photographing through screens imprinted with photographic images of foliage derived from hunting paraphernalia, and from my own photographs printed on theatrical scrim. The images printed on these new screens make them potentially as visible as the black screen of my Course, Bonsai, and Garden Slices series (1987-95) were elusive, dispersing into an ominous, spectral cover upon the deceptively lush subject matter they mediated.
The sculptural forms depicted are constructed from mass-produced fabrics. These fabrics, printed with photographic images, are cut by hand into shapes that mimic and reconfigure the natural forms on their patterns. Shooting the screens via a method that both captures this information and the object behind it, I am manipulating layers of photographic imagery. The screen has its own physical presence, which sometimes makes an appearance as the folds, buckles and distortions of its pattern reflect how and where it is hung. The resulting large-format images are immersive fields that work similarly to a lens over one’s eyes, placing the viewer in an ambiguous, pseudo-natural space. Like all of my work, they use the photograph as both a device to flatten sculpture and as a plastic physical object with its own (albeit highly mediated) space. The screen is useful for this, because it generalizes and obscures while providing an index of its own depth within the field of the photograph. The resulting images are inconclusive but not abstract, highly spatial with pockets of legibility.
Since my early Tableaux and Screen works, I have used the proliferation of images at large in the world as source material. The barrage of manipulated images we are exposed to from birth affects our psyches in ways we are only liminally aware of. It is too much information all at once to be very critical. This new series opens some of these images to new possibilities for regeneration, but I also think of these works as eulogies to the natural forms for which they are surrogates. They’re not holographs or computer generated, but they’re not accurate reflections of the world either.