Studio Discovery

from a still life series, oil on gessoed rag, each image on 8″ x 10″ sheet, ca. 2003

Each day I unpack a few things in the studio before I start work. On Monday I found this group of paper paintings way in the back of one of the flat files. These were the latest of a series that started in the late 90s. The first set was shown at my second solo at M.B. Modern in New York. It was a boxed set titled Small Mysteries.  I’ll dig up an image and post it later.  From there came more, two boxed sets about Glenn Gould’s piano, one shown in an Institute-wide Faculty Drawing Show at Schafler Gallery at Pratt, the other now in a collection in New York.  These above were the beginning of an as yet unfinished new series about still life.  They are part of the aria that streams through my mind about Black & White and the miracles it releases.

The Drawing Line

Before the Rain, 2017, Archival Digital Print

Drawing outside yesterday I was marveling at the tools we have created for ourselves from the first human first noticed his capacity to create a line. Now the choice has expanded through so many tools, points, colors and effects but it hasn’t given a line any more meaning or power nor made the Art of Drawing any better. What power can invest a line in one person’s hand and not another’s.

After the Show in Cleveland

Chair on the Porch, 5 P.M., 2017, Archival Digital Print

I am enjoying the quiet after my show at Tregoning & Company ended. It was extended until May 20th and I hope that many came to view these new works. I am especially grateful to Bill Tregoning and his Co-Curator, Laura Sherman, for their astute choices, beautiful installation and thorough and thoughtful professionalism in this project. Few artists have the pleasure to work with people like these on behalf of their work.  I look forward to our next project together.  If you missed the show, you can still contact the gallery or me and arrange to see it

A Chapter about Place

 

At the Edge of the Orchard, 2017, Archival Digital Print

 A Chapter about Place is my working title for the new photographs some of which are now on view in Cleveland, Ohio, at Tregoning & Company.  The photos include some of those created when I arrived in the Hudson Valley in Mid-August 2015.  It was my return to place and the extended search for a home after I had lost my loft in the Garment District in Manhattan, that these began.  The following May, 2016, I moved onto my new homestead near where I had temporarily rented and the photos continued with an awareness that had become increasingly present in my consciousness of the challenge photography gives to ideas of date, time and place in the past.

I am keenly aware that in the photographic print, the viewer is aware that he is in the photo’s future. Even Breaking News shots soon seem stale.  In the image’s future we know what happened, we look back always, aware that Aunt Harriet left her philandering husband she’s smiled at in the print or that this church that seemed fused with stillness in the small photo was destroyed in a bombing of a war yet unknown in its future.  We have an advantage which is always brought to the looking.  Of course the present can’t be held or contained as time slips through us in a ribbon of experience but our awareness of it, in photographs, is unique to the medium I think.  This position, which the late critic John Berger comments about so eloquently, has gnawed at me for as long as I’ve been thinking about the potentialities of photography and its place in art.  It reduces the medium to something that is a signifier of the past, perhaps immediate past, but consciously historical and therefore documentary.  Painting doesn’t do this.  Not in the same way.  The freshness of a painting, if successful, does not shout its time in the way most photographs do.  Even though there are obvious cues of period, the timelessness of a painting is ultimately what is most revered.  Parenthetically, this may have to do with two things:  that anyone can hit a button and produce something; and, the elevation of the vapid in the snapshot frenzy, a craze of the last ten years that has made any photo valuable because of the eye of the curator who positions and titles it, sometimes sardonically, to play off the amateur photographers naiveté, and by applying context imposes meaning that was never intended.  But, that is far more about selection, the curator’s will imposed to millions of choices now on the internet, than generation from the photographer’s eye.

So I wanted to address the problem of a more original innocence, some of the surprise I imagine those 19th c. French photographers felt when they saw an image come to life and beheld nature and objects merge out of the chemical soup.  I wanted  to let the camera find the germ of timelessness.

I will write more on this as I have thoughts but I welcome your comments and ideas.

Catherine Redmond

Claverack, NY

April 2017

Deliberate Choices

The Ravine, January 16, Rain, 2016, Archival Digital Print

The Ravine, January 16, Rain, 2016, Archival Digital Print

In the deliberate choices the photographer makes, the image can become a document of seeming distant history.  It is always history, already having happened the moment the photographer’s camera catches the light and the viewer blinks.  But how wide open it is to interpretation!  My double image can be the site of the massacre of members of the French Resistance in Breton in 1940 or the campsite of the Mormons as they left Palmyra or even where mammoth bones were found yesterday morning in Columbia Country, New York.  The label will alter the viewer’s eye.

I continue to be surprised by the wealth of potential in the limited space around my rental here in Claverack.  I search, trying to find home and along the way see visual treasures in the small unnoticed events of the Earth and those who live on it.

Still Life at the Minneapolis Photo Center

Still Life, the inanimate subject My 2015 photo, Late Afternoon Sun, is included in this exhibition curated by Russell Joslin, Editor and Publisher of SHOTS Magazine.

About the Work
More than other genres of photography, still life generally gives photographers greater latitude in achieving their final vision through the arrangement of inanimate objects and composition of design elements. It can also allow for a slower and more thoughtful approach to the creation of a photograph. As I looked through the 1000-plus images submitted for this exhibition, I found myself not only compelled by the various choices of subject matter that each photographer visually documented, but also by the human presence implied in each of the works. Ultimately, it was a reminder of what most essentially and instinctively connects me to the language that is photography—it’s not just the photograph before me, but it’s the thought, the touch, and the presence of the creator behind it. In turn, it’s my hope that the viewers of this selection of works will be able to connect to the photographs in their own personal and sensory way—perhaps through the recollection of a moment, memory, feeling, or fleeting thought. Juror, Russell Joslin, March 20, 2015