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Penetrating The Veil

I refer to this seriers of photographs as Penetrating the Veil. The phrase itself was inspired partially from Georges Bataille‘s idea of communication through laceration which he expands on in his book On Nietzsche. The other piece of inspiration came from an interview of the late artist Leon Golub in which he spoke about puncturing the surface of everyday life. I use the phrase Penetrating the Veil to describe the destructive gesture of manipulating the surface of the photographic paper in an attempt to express unarticulated emotions behind the facades of everyday relationships.

This idea is not limited to these two thinkers. The quest to express unarticulated emotions through abstraction in photography dates back to László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray, both of whom where heavily attached to early 1900’s European avant-garde.  Ray most famously known for camera-less made abstract photograms he called rayographs. With this method images were made by placing objects directly onto the surface of light-sensitive material such as photographic paper and exposing them to light.

From László Moholy-Nagy and Man Ray the tradition of camera-less made abstract photographs extends to Henry Holmes Smith. Smith was an American photographer that began working with color photography in 1936. Like Ray, Smith would incorporate the photogram method of creating abstract images that expressed emotional content. Yet there were many differences in technique between Ray and Smith. Man Ray would set objects onto black and white photographic paper and expose the paper to light and then develop the results. In contrast, Henry Holmes Smith would create images by refracting light through splashes of water onto color dye transfer paper.

The dialog of camera-less photographic images has extended into 21st century with Marco Breuer, Curtis Mann amongst others. We all approach the conversation in different but similar methods. We create camera-less abstract images but instead of manipulating the light the strikes the surface of light-sensitive paper, we manipulate the actual surface of the paper.Penetrating the Veil #1 Penetrating the Veil #2 Penetrating the Veil #3 Penetrating the Veil #4 Penetrating the Veil #5 Penetrating the Veil #6 Penetrating the Veil #7 Penetrating the Veil #8 Penetrating the Veil #9 Penetrating the Veil #10