Through the course of my work I have looked to the nature of the photograph -- distilling the medium to its most essential elements. In so doing, I have discarded from my work much of what has been considered central to photography. The modernist movement in photography took it to be self evident that the nature of photography lies in the recording of "the thing itself," meaning the outside world.
This conception of modernist photography seems to discount what Greenberg cited as the guiding principle of modernism, that "modernism criticizes from the inside, through the procedures themselves of that which is being criticized." The idea of recording an objective reality outside the lens seems highly suspect today as much contemporary work diverges from this. The world seen through the lens hardly seems a critical stance on the procedures of the medium.
A modernist approach to photography, which criticizes and dissects the procedures of the medium is hardly new, but remains a relatively unstudied history. There is a clear trajectory, which can be seen to start with the Dadaists and the Bauhaus, continuing in contemporary art with Adam Fuss, Marco Breuer, James Welling and Michael Flomen.
My work follows in this tradition. In the series, Light, I have used only that which I deem essential to the photographic medium: light, photographic paper, and the action of the artist. Through the direct reaction of light on photographic paper, I create gestural lines, which are recorded by the photographic paper.
While the work bears comparison with the abstract expressionists and the post painterly abstractionists, much of the nature of photography is revealed, distinct from painting. Focus and the temporality of creation are experienced differently from any other medium. Flatness too is experienced distinctly from other pictorial art -- the sheer flatness of the materials is essential to the way they are experienced.
In Light, I establish the photograph as surface. Michael Fried, in his article "Art and Objecthood," discusses this use of surface in relation to Olitiski's work Bunga 45:
It amounts to something more than an attempt simply to "translate" his paintings into sculptures, namely an attempt to establish surface -- the surface of painting as a medium of sculpture -- that is flat but rolled...unlike ordinary objects and other sculpture [it is] all surface. And of course what declares or establishes that surface is color.
As Fried comments on similar works, they are in many ways inexhaustible as the action of viewing changes from all angles and the relationship between object and viewer, ever-changing, alters one's perception. The elements of the surface heighten this by being infinite themselves. The emanating circles have neither beginning nor end and push the eye towards constant motion.