Geary is a painter living and working in the Bay area. To see more of her work visit her site.
Jason Gowans understands photography, and he understands what we, as viewers, look for in photographs; how we search for context, intent, veracity. Using the physical processes of photography, he offers us something we weren’t expecting: an expansive landscape inside a strange wooden armature, a white void that casts an inexplicable shadow. The compositions appeal formally, but jar us narratively; not telling us the story we expected to be told.
To view the collection of photographs for LPP, go here.
MH: How do you build your photographs? Your recent series, Five Landscape Modes, collides two very distinct perceptual experiences — the gritty, close detail of wood and the distinct, sort of sublime view of a landscape.
JG: I build a lot of strange wooden structures that have no utilitarian purpose. This is a good starting point for me, simply because as a carpenter I’m pretty bad. Photography is a medium where everything can be controlled; especially in the age of digital, everything is predetermined by the technology that we’re given. I know how to make a photograph but I don’t know how to build props. It’s a bit of a strategy.
I create these structures with wood, photo paper, paint, and it’s all relatively simple. Things get more complex as I begin to photograph them over and over with a 4×5 camera. The amount of film I process and scan is pretty high. Images are layered and photographed from multiple angles. Often I make digital edits but they are left in the open. I see it as a very significant part of the image making process.
MH: Can you talk about the cleanness and blankness of your series for LPP? I am enjoying the simple illusion of a white shape, a white hole even, is somehow casting a shadow and at the same time falling away, and the idea that you’ve photographed something “impossible.” And can you talk about your title, A Law That Is Implied Without Being Said?
JG: When I was creating Dumb as a Painter with Antoni Wojtyra we were talking a lot about “penumbra.” The penumbra is the outermost portion of a shadow and the space between light and dark. The word, however, takes on another meaning in legalese. A penumbra is a law that is implied without being explicit. It presents itself as black and white, but is in fact is open to interpretation. The penumbra is the space where an argument is made.
The impossibility that you mention is contradictory to the authenticity of the analog process. The images were made in the darkroom from 4×5 negatives and contacted printed on paper. For traditionalists, a contact print is the purest form of black and white printing. Despite the associations with analog tradition, when the images are multilayered the process comes into question pretty quickly.
MH: You’re a city dweller, living in Vancouver, and I am too, in San Francisco. Both cities are perched on the edge of magnificent landscapes. I’m curious, because I think about this too, what your relationship, as a person and as an artist, is to landscape as an experience and, from a city dweller’s perspective, to landscape as an idea. It looks like a question you have mulled in your work.
JG: Yes, I’ve lived in both cities and they’re both similar in this regard. I think what is unique to Vancouver is that you get pretty isolated pretty fast as soon as you leave the city. It’s a metropolis on the verge of an enormous expanse. It’s pretty easy to see how Vancouverites have created maps of aesthetic experience, places to go to experience a vista but never far enough to be away from safety’s reach.
Landscape and the camera seem to be fundamentally at odds with one another. Hoards of tourists with digital SLRs march out into the wilderness to experience nature, only to come back with images that are decidedly lackluster. Kant noted that the Sublime is without borders, and is found in the formless object. In other words, the Sublime cannot be contained within a picture frame. This idea is not exclusive to photography but it does seem to be the perfect illustration for the problem of capturing landscape. Photography (and painting) tries to come up with solutions to this problem by thinking of ways to immerse people in the image. The stereograph was one of these solutions. It was thought that the stereographic image was going to eliminate the need for tourist travel. If we could trick our eyes optically, we could have the same aesthetic experience at home as we did on the mountainside. I guess the iPhone’s panoramic feature is another solution
MH: I am glad you brought up Kant, because your work does hint at ways we try to capture the sublime; Kant’s Sublime is by definition more expansive and porous than human representation, or consciousness, can ever apprehend. That failed struggle to take it all in is, in fact, what indicates a Kantian moment of the Sublime. So the sublime can’t be contained in a picture frame and it can’t even be contained in a human mind; it overwhelms it. Do you think you’re exploring instances of this perceptual overload in your work, in the camera itself, pushing your photographic process to stretch how much a camera can see for us?
JG: The aesthetic experience was still linked with concepts of god, mortality, etc. The overwhelming terror and awe of the sublime was linked with the overwhelming terror and awe of a creator and beyond the comprehension of the human mind.
A perceptual overload is not something I’ve spent time exploring. I am interested in creating a disorienting sense of space. However, my intent is always to talk about the construction of photography. I want people to be unsure of what they are looking at.
MH: Although your landscape work folds in a feeling of photography as experience, i.e. “seeing what the photographer saw,” within the larger body of your work it become clear that you’re interested in photography as a language, as a form of communication with its own culture and idioms. How much do you shoot images yourself and how much to you quote images you’ve found? I am thinking of your series Google Image Search ‘May 1968 France,’ which isolates figures and groups from their settings, making them timeless, even as you point back to specificity with your title.
JG: Photographs inherently have referents and a sense of language becomes really clear. What’s interesting is the expectation we place on the photograph to communicate and understand what we’re looking at. When you understand how a photograph communicates, then there is a space to twist the language so you can experience the image in a new way. The landscape work definitely falls in line with this. It was not about seeing what the photographer saw but rather isolating the language of landscape through photography. To talk about the language of landscape I found it helpful to remove my subjects from any sense of time and place.
I’m always curious what images are communicating. I think we’re in an exciting time in photography. The number of images being produced and the ease of digital editing has taken some authority away from the photographic image. However, in place of this has come an enormous network of images that we’re connected with daily. This is way I often use found imagery in my practice. I think it’s important to put it on the same level as the photographs I’ve taken. It’s not about the individual images but rather a network of images.
JG: The gallery plays an enormous influence on my work. We produce a good portion of the work at Gallery 295 because it’s connected to a photo lab. I had the pleasure of working with some amazing artists such as Laurie Kang, Cedric Bomford, Raymond Boisjoly, Scott Massey, Felicia E. Gail, and Dan Siney. I’m gushing but it’s really been an inspiration having lengthy conversations with these artists and getting insight into how they produce work.
The Everything Company is very much a part of my practice. It’s like 50/50. It’s an outlet for collaborative work. Currently our members include myself, Michael Love and Simon M. Benedict. The work is different and much more socially based. We worked on a project last year where we distilled whiskey, gin, absinthe and held free speakeasies in Vancouver locations with specific historical interest. More recently we did a project with Toronto’s Nuit Blanche where we built a large, bicycle-powered salmon smoker. Visitors were invited to cycle through the evening to electrically generate smoke for fish that was served to participants. There is also a very strong component to TEC that is photographic (being that we’re all photographers). TEC still serves as an outlet for ideas that are very similar to my solo practice. Recently, we mounted the Three Wrongs Don’t Make a Right at Access Gallery in Vancouver. A lot of my interest in landscape, apparatus, and picture making was funneled into that show.
Little Paper Planes is pleased to introduce our February 2014 artist, Jason Gowans, and to offer five exclusive photographs.
A Law That Is Implied Without Being Said
7 3/4” x 8 3/4 “
Silver Gelatin Prints.
Edition of 12 each
A separate certificate comes with each one, all signed, numbered and dated.
These photographs were made in the darkroom from 4×5 negatives and contact printed on paper.They are evidence and witness to a process of photography that is as old as the medium itself. For traditionalists, a contact print is the purest form of black and white printing. Despite the associations with analog tradition, the images are multilayered and the authenticity of the photograph is immediately called into question.
Flannigan is an abstract artist living and working in Raleigh, North Carolina. To see more of her work visit her site.
Hortal is an artist based out of Berlin. To see more of his work visit his site.
It is that time of the year! We wanted to help you out, by picking out some of our favorites that would be make a perfect gift for your boo or your bff! (Most of the items are in our physical shop in SF, but we would be glad to ship to you!) If you like one of these items, just email us! email@example.com
for the friend:
1. Ceramic Strainer by Helen Levi | 2. Plant Pod by Bird and Feather | 3. Nail Polish by Floss Gloss | 4. Wooden Pencil by Ink Kit | 5. Indigo Dye Kit by Noon Design | 5. “To My Amazing Single Friend” Card by Emily McDowell | 6. Synonym Journal #3 by Synonym | 7. Shape Studs by Julia Szendrei | 8. Phone Case by Scout & Catalogue | 9. Soy Candle by Oui
for the lady:
1. Double Cuff Bracelet by Julia Szendrei | 2. Bent Brass Cuff by Debbie Carlos 3. Bracelet w/ Bent Brass by Debbie Carlos | 4. Lip Balm by Herbivore Botanicals | 5. Gemstone Necklaces by Julia Szendrei | 6. Gold Coin Purse by Baggu | 7. Pencil Set by Knot and Bow | 8. “I Think About You All the Time” Card by Colpa Press | 9. Astrology print by Hands Workshop | 10. Gift Tags by Knot and Bow
for the dude:
1. Ikat Hat by TEM | 2. Key Ring by Make Smith | 3. Leather Noteboks by Poketo | 4. Watch by Tokyo Bay | 5. Beard Tonic by Herbivore Botanicals | 6. “I Love the Shit Out of You” Card by Emily McDowell | 6. Adventure Club by CCOOLL | 7. Shave Kit by Son of a Sailor | 8. Button Up Shirt by Sub-Urban Riot
Heinlein is an installation artist based out of Houston, TX. To see more of her work visit her site
I create simple and theatrical structures that generate interplay between the effect of gravity, tension and movement, using cloth and other readily available building materials. Cloth is a compelling material to me because of its capability to be strong, supple and fluid.I use fabric because of these physical properties, but also because of its optical qualities—its opacity and color. In one way, I think of my work being like a physical painting or drawing. Straight lines are rendered in space with tension and weight on a colored strap. Brushlike gestures are evidenced through large gathered and wrinkled swaths. Each piece is structured as choreography between material and gravity, built to perform in its own particular way, but an element of randomness is always at play. Cloth has the ability to be both vague and suggestive, because it can really only partially conceal what it is covering. Just a few materials—a couple of 2 x 4’s, a strap, and a curtain of fabric, depending on how they are positioned, can convey vulgarity, elegance or solemnity. My work is about mystery and obscurity—what is not fully seen, and transparency—what is physically obvious. – Katey Heinlein
While we are in LA for the LA Art Book Fair, there is also the Art LA Contemporary which will be highlighting some great galleries from all over! Our friends here in SF that run Et al. will be showing some amazing work. So if you are in the area, come to the book fair and then pop over to the art fair to see some amazing work!
Above: Andrew Chapman, AATH
2013; Acrylic on panel; 84 × 48 in
For more info: artlosangelesfair.com
This week is the LA Art Book Fair! If you are in the Los Angeles area come by! Little Paper Planes will have a booth and will be releasing 4 new publications!
For more info: visit laartbookfair.net
The work of Margo Wolowiec.
**All images are from www.margowolowiec.com
The work of Kristine Eudey.
Kristine is currently has an exhibition up at Oak Common in Oakland, Ca.
Backstock Gallery is pleased to announce “How do you say what it’s like”, a solo exhibition of new work by Oakland based artist Kristine Eudey.
“I’m lately tied up with an idea about the photograph as both a thing in the world but more so as a mirror, reflecting back, not being of the world but made of its material and tied intrinsically to it. I come back again and again to the split, the doubling, the break.It provides a place for that displacement to be contained, the displacement that happens whenever you take anything out of its context and look at it, point to it. The break forces you into remembering that the image is a surface, a thing, a something else.”
Kristine Eudey sees the photographic form as rooted in two vastly different belief systems and her current work explores the flux between these two poles. The first of which is separatory, and along this line she questions how the photograph separates us from the world as lived, seen, and experienced. In some fundamental ways it constructs a lens through which we see, understand, and engage. We see through pictures, and we are constituted as separate from that which is seen through this relationship to vision. The world is then different than it was before viewing it through the image. Through this separation we become disembodied, from both ourselves and the body of the world to which we’re connected. She considers the question ‘what can one know by seeing?’, and this question of knowing and what this kind of knowing does and does not support underpins her relationship to the medium. At a basic level it is not just about vision at all, but about the ways in which it is possible to conceive of the relationship between “I” and “everything”.
The second of these poles considers the photograph as connective. It can exist as a legible translation siphoned and brought back from the world, and in allowing for the translation of experience beyond the individual perceiver the image transmits important information about the world and shapes a mental space in which things are considered in relation to one another based on how they appear. The photograph can be considered to provide a totem through which to imagine and communicate existence beyond the immediately proximal. Symbols. Documents. A language; a slice that carries back with it information about the world, and specifically through the fragmentary nature, can suggest alternate visions about the connections between things and opens the possibility for alternate readings of the visible. Through the gestures of pointing and juxtaposition photographs have the capacity to construct narratives from a world which, in its complex totality, is impossible to fully grasp. They also become representative of things larger than themselves and their appearances and, in this way, function as prompts or stand-ins through which the reckoning of a vast world is offered. Non linear, decontextualized, and fragmentary realities can exist at once and the world is thus revealed as not fitting within the tight constraints of the immediate and physically/conceptually proximal or harmonious, but as ultimately unified in its disparate totality. Through this reconciliation of unity the viewer of images in the world is also, perhaps, able to potentially be reconciled as unified and contiguous within that which is seen.
Rather than starting from a belief in their mutual exclusivity, the ground of her work is instead the navigation of space between two seemingly oppositional poles by which one might consider the photographic. She views her practice within the medium as akin to both the speaking of a language and the breaking apart of that language at once. In this exhibition, Eudey starts with the shift or the break between images, slices of looking.
About the Artist
Kristine Eudey is a visual artist who lives and works in Oakland, CA. She is currently an MFA Candidate at California College of the Arts. Born in Rockford, IL she completed BFA degrees in photography and sculpture at University of Illinois in 2009. Her work has been exhibited and published both nationally and internationally with recent exhibitions at S.H.E.D. Projects (Oakland, CA), ANU Photospace (Canberra, Australia), and recently featured in New York based publication The World According To.
**All images are from www.kristineeudey.com
**All italicized text is from www.oakcommon.com