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Transmutations: Abstraction in Nature

Michael Mazzeo Gallery
508 West 26th Street, No. 318, 212-741-6599
May 13 - June 20, 2009
Reception: Wednesday, May 13, 6 - 8 PM
Web Site

Photographs by Caleb Charland, Christian Erroi, Yong Hee Kim, Sebastian Lemm, and Chris McCaw. The exhibition will be on view from May 13 through June 20.

Transmutations consists of imagery in which either the photographer alters nature or allows nature to alter the photographic material. Caleb Charland’s curiosity led him to relinquish control of the image-making process by introducing bacteria to his film. By consuming the gelatin emulsion and re-depositing and repositioning the image particles, the bacteria create patterns and shapes, not dissimilar to those left behind by other natural processes. Charland’s images are a biograph, evidence of a bacterial life cycle, an index of existence.

Christian Erroi began to use photography as a means of communication after suffering a series of strokes causing paralysis, temporary blindness and the loss of his ability to speak or write. His lyrical color images of tree canopies and regional flora, divorced from their natural environs and reconfigured as freestanding elements in empty space, are informed by MRI scans of his brain.

Chance and unpredictability play a significant role in the work of Yong Hee Kim. His investigation into the metaphysical nature of photography is expressed through the tangible, yet immaterial properties of natural phenomena. His altered and enlarged Polaroid SX-70 images of the sun refer to the dualities of light, metaphorical and physical.

By means of multiple exposure and layering of images, Sebastian Lemm builds elaborate networks of branches and leaves that become more than the sum of their parts. In this series of monochromatic works titled Strata, he summons gestalt theory to explore one of his recurring themes, the accumulation of memories.

Using vintage optics and extended time exposures, Chris McCaw pushes traditional photographic material far beyond its intended capacity, allowing the sun to scar his paper negatives. Marked by staccato burns, long charred gashes and the occasional suggestion of landscape, these raw, primitive images recall the experimental origins of the medium.
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