I’m in Santa Fe, NM for the next few weeks working on a television pilot for CBS. Santa Fe is a huge art center, downtown the streets are lined with galleries. Surrounded by both good and bad art this environment provides for some interesting perspective AND tons of inspiration.
On the recommendation of a friend I decided to visit The Verve Gallery. They have a group show going on right now that highlights different alternative processes. While I’m not in love with all of the subjects or compositions, they somehow take on a level of beauty through the printing process.
Cy DeCosse – Platinum Prints
Of all the processes covered by the artists in the gallery i think that Cy DeCosse and his platinum prints were by far my favorite. Platinum printing is one of the most difficult and expensive processes you can undertake. Being that it is a contact printing process you need to create a negative as big as the print you are wanting to create. The beauty of this process lies in the fact that instead of the metal particles sitting on top of the paper (as in a silver process) they actually soak into the fibers of the paper allowing for more depth and gradation, this gives the image a softness without losing any detail.
Cy DeCosse – Gum Dichromate
“In the three-colour gum dichromate process, a sheet of watercolour paper is repeatedly coated with a sensitiser (gum arabic, a potassium dichromate solution to make it light sensitive and a watercolour pigment), exposed through the relevant negative (separation) and processed in water. The image is built up in three successive printings, one for each of the process colours of yellow, magenta and cyan, although this order can vary between printers.
The three parts of the sensitiser are mixed together and painted onto the paper by brush. A thicker mixture containing a higher proportion of pigment and having a short exposure time will place the colour primarily in the shadow areas, whereas a thinner mixture with less pigment and a longer exposure will give colour mainly to the highlights and lighter tones, so some contrast control is possible in the printing.
Immediately the coated paper has dried, it’s exposed in contact with the corresponding separation to ultraviolet light. A pin registration system is crucial to ensure that the negatives are positioned correctly and in registration for each printing. Once exposed, the separation is removed and the print floated face down in plain water. The areas of sensitised gum that were exposed to the uv light harden and become insoluble forming the shadows. Those that were blocked by the dense areas of the negative remain soluble and float away in the water. These areas finally become the highlights.
After 30 minutes the print is removed from the water and dried thoroughly. This process is repeated twice, once again for the magenta layer and finally a third time for the cyan. At the end of the process, and usually after a day’s work, the print is finished.”
I love the images created by this process. They have very muted color palette and a texture to them that I find very pleasing. It feels almost as if you could reach out and take hold of the subject.
Kamil Vojnar – Mixed Media
I’ve always been intrigued by mixed media, done well it can create a feast for the senses. Kamil Vojnar’s work is no exception. His beautiful, multidimensional pieces create an ethereal world full of texture and melancholy.
Vojnar’s work is made up of multiple copies of the photo (manipulated either in photoshop or with some physical act of ‘destruction’) cut up and layered on top of one another and covered in varnish, wax, and other substances. All of his artwork has a very three dimensional presence and you are encouraged by the curator to experience them by physically touching the images.
There is definitely a slight obsession with young girls in nightgowns, not sure how I feel about that.
Joy Goldkind – Bromoil Print
The bromoil process involves making a silver gelatin print, soaking it water, bleaching the image and then inking the image. In each of the stages the artist can take liberties that allow for each print to have its own unique ethereal qualities.
Jennifer Schlesinger – Albumen Print
Mixing egg whites and photosensitive chemicals makes the Albumen process feel the most DIY of all the processes. While I’m not the biggest fan of the photographer her prints do have a otherworldly feel to them that engages the viewer.