Having built a large archive of images concerning painting and urban spaces
- OBVIOUS ILLUSION
- I set myself on slowing down while fusing painting and photography more
intimately. The obstacle - light. Moholy Nagy had predicted from
Dessau 1929 that having removed the camera from the photographic process,
someday light would be removed.
I purchased boxes of 30x40 in. as well as 15x1 m. rolls of Cibachrome material
and in my studio I EXPOSED IT TO DAYLIGHT.
Instead I worked in a way I could imagine alchemists prior to the Renaissance
had worked, coaxing something extraordinary from matter through chemistry.
Chloramin-T would dissolve the magenta Cibachrom dye, leaving green. I worked
with chemicals and brushes using a subtractive process, remove yellow for
blue, magenta for green, cyan for red. Photographic developers in various
dilutions provided gray tones, and other chemicals and instruments came into
play for various effects and color purposes.
Eventually I employed painted silkscreens through which liquid plastic was
squeegied, being held to the Cibachrome material only by static electricity
to the Cibachrom material, to act as a temporary 'raincoat' while I developed
photographic images - usually of brick, walls and rubble from downtown New
York. Removing the 'raincoat' easily, the same oxidizing chemicals, brushes
and subtractive, alchemical process would integrate a painterliness into what
are actual single-support, single-dye hybrids of painting and photography.
The Obvious Illusion lyrical documentary
photography exhibition pre-envisioned this Cibachrome work. It had opened
at the Cooper Union gallery, on Astor Place, the gateway to the East Village.
This more process-oriented work was shown and handled by Piezo Electric Gallery,
first a storefront on Clinton and Stanton Street belowE. Houston, then migrated
north to East 6th Street, and then Avenue B and 10th St. Piezo Electric was
one of the first wave of East Village galleries to open in New York in the
early 80s, and its proprietors Doug Milford and Lisa McDonald made it a hub
for the East Village scene, repesenting Keiko Bonk (His Masters Voice singer,
then Congresswoman from Hawaii), Richard Hambleton of Shadow street art fame,
and others. The gallery closed in 1987. The works at left are for the most
part in private and corporate collections in New York and the USA. Sizes range
from 20x24 inches, to 30x40 inches, up to 30x80 in and 120x40 in. and were
priced between $800 - 2500.