We are pleased to announce three new additions to The Chicago Project: Dan Herman, Samantha VanDeman and Lauren Wilkins. Be sure to visit The Chicago Project online gallery to see more images by all three artists after reading about their projects below.
[Re]Photography explores the notion of utilizing photography as a means of mark-making to create compositions more akin to drawing or painting than that of traditional methods of the photographic medium. Pieces in this series are made up of a succession of translucent velum prints mounted onto canvas. Photography itself serves as the integral means of constructing each piece by either photographing a blank canvas in the setting it rests in, or by digitally compositing the blank canvas over a “traditional” image. The resulting image is then printed and mounted to the previously mentioned canvas, re-photographed, and repeated over several generations; the camera and subsequent print therefore become the tools for mark-making.
Intuitively responding to the previously placed components, each print builds a formalist relationship between various compositional elements. The work explores a chronological documentation of mark-making upon the composition by embracing the camera’s ability to render fine detail and compartmentalizing each generation of print into the frame of the next. Additionally, the translucency of the material adds to the record by exposing the visual foundation each component is built on. Each finished piece intends to emulate elements within the visual vocabulary of Abstract Expressionism, Formalism, and Minimalism while responding to issues throughout photography’s past—namely Pictorialism, photo-montaging, and essays highlighting ideas throughout the medium’s history.
No Vacancy is an ongoing photographic series documenting abandoned hotel interiors that have sat vacant for nearly five to thirty years.
In my work, I’m often drawn to abandoned places that appear to be frozen in time. I use my camera to examine these places that have been forgotten by society. Through the use of color and light, I attempt to capture the beauty that once existed in these magnificent environments. By photographing these hotels, I hope to provide a visual record of what might be lost forever.
As a collector of found photographs I am interested in the traditional family photo albums. With each anonymous photograph I am able to understand the stranger’s lifestyle: from the date and location, to the notes of their trip or significant occasion, even messages to their loved ones on the back of the photograph. By collecting these found objects, I wonder if they lose their meaning because they have lost their owners?
In this series of photographic collages my method is cutting, replacing and overlaying found photographs. I honor the photograph by finding them and preserving the personal attachment someone once had towards them. I cut into the photograph with a sense of elegance and a hint of violence to reveal layers that would normally go unseen. Behind each layer you can discover: the sense of belonging, romance, fear and loneliness. Through these stranger’s personal memories I question the history of family, the meaning of marriage and if I would succeed in this kind of lifestyle.