CEG is pleased to announce three new additions to The Chicago Project: Garrett Baumer, Mel Keiser, and Patrick Linehan. Be sure to visit The Chicago Project online gallery to see more images by all three artists.
These images are a hybrid of visual elements used in set design and concept art found in filmmaking. By fabricating these scenarios through building 3D sets I am able to integrate the unusual into the ordinary, placing the viewer in unlikely environments. The events occurring in the photographs reference archetypes of alarm and emergency, depicting a transition from a stable to an unstable situation.
I believe that space in itself can contain a mythology, as in a set of stories or ideas centered around a place we commonly do not have access to. I’m exploring how these unobtainable spaces are dramatized, and through this gain mythical status. Stripping the scene of the action I reduce the environment to its basic formal elements, allowing the materiality of the set to create an enriched atmosphere. When photographing these constructed sets I place the viewer in a strange mental space; caught between the photographic reality of the material and the alternate reality the space creates as a whole.
Mel through Binary Fission
Interested in having a better understanding of the geometry of my face, I split a picture of myself in half and mirrored each side. I was surprised to see that the asymmetries of my face essentially created two completely different faces. For this series, I use this mirroring process to create a cast of characters all created from the same original- me- without using any other digital manipulation. Through this process, the relationship between corporeal body and identity becomes more multifaceted and convoluted.
As the mirroring investigates the basic composition of the face, I adorn the characters with props that symbolically investigate the basic composition of the body- skin, bones, fat, hair, etc. Thus, these pieces seek to define identity and its relationship to its physical manifestation.
Remnants is an ongoing series of abstract photographs made from markings left behind by others, messages painted on rocks along the Lake Michigan shoreline. The rocks are painted and over-painted and eroded by both human traffic and the weather.
The series, however, is not about place or people – the images (usually larger than life-size) become something more than just a document of the site. By taking them out of context, I have transformed them: aerial photographs, graphic fields of color, ancient cave paintings and iconic symbols emerge. In a way, these photographs are an exploration of a basic human need to leave something behind.