Walk and Talk with the Artists of (re)View
As part of the (re)View: Abstract, Land, and the Narrative exhibition, Art Intersection is pleased to present a Walk and Talk with artists Philip V. Augustin, B.K. Skaggs, and Melanie Walker. Please join us in the Art Intersection galleries from 4 – 5pm on Saturday, November 12 to hear from the artists about their pieces in the exhibition and their creative processes.
(re)View: Abstract, Land, and the Narrative
In (re)View, we take a more in-depth look at three significant darkroom-focused artists featured earlier in the year during the Light Sensitive exhibition. These artists’ works explore abstract formalism, intimate landscapes and creative narrative. Each uses mediums of traditional or historical photographic processes in an exceptional way to express their diverse visions.
Philip V. Augustin, B.K. Skaggs, Melanie Walker
Philip V. Augustin
My creative inclination is to simplify the world into minimal formalist compositions. For forty years I have developed a mastery of photographic technique and vision that allows me to create simple images presented in an elegant manner. This simplification has evolved into abstraction. My current work uses abstraction to question the boundaries of the photographic process.
Abstractions (2006-2013) is a loose group of photographs that never came together as a cohesive body of work. They represent my first serious attempt to gain an understanding of how abstract imagery works. In 2007 my creative practice was in a state of flux, I was questioning long-held assumptions and exploring fertile new ground. By 2013 I had radically transformed my photography. What I learned creating these images was crucial to my change from representational landscape work to nonrepresentational work.
These images draw on spontaneous reactions to visual opportunities before me, moments so common and familiar they are often overlooked; the play of light across an object, graphic elements of a larger scene, shadows interacting with reality. The graphic sensibility and formalist compositions directly connect with my longstanding creative sensibility.
Through selective composition I worked to flatten visual space. By only providing minimal contextual information the work is intended to perplex the viewer, causing doubt about what they are seeing, challenging them to fill in their own narrative of the image. By paring down the contents of the photograph, and my visual vocabulary, the work began to speak to a more generic nature of spaces. Ultimately these experiments with abstraction convinced me that, even with their context removed, the specificity of the objects interfered with the pure abstract forms I was seeking.
My first roll of film, shot in South Dakota in the summer of ’77, is now but a memory, fire made sure of that; those images have gone deep into the grey, not yet accessed by dreams. I remember though the thrill of anticipation; anticipation of something known yet unknown, and that sensation still accompanies every photographic endeavor taken.
Lagniappe: an unexpected gift.
This is how I view what I’ve seen, what I’ve photographed, and what is here upon the walls. From the searches through the contact sheets for potentials, failed and realized, on through to the sifting and sorting of edits, we come to this: an offer for the viewer to have a glimpse into my quiet adventures, undertaken along back roads, hiking ancient trails, seeking the arcane within Arizona.
Using the image of a house and the conceptual framework of home as metaphor, I create images that explore the notions of memory, family, dreams and fiction. I seek to offer pictorial access to the often inexplicable longing for connection. Delving into the fantastic and the banal, the work addresses fictional metaphors for experience and emotion. Within this body of work I seek to create a theater where the ridiculous, the poignant and the unexpected can be acted out through imaginary and whimsical pictorial associations that portray life on the lyrical and playful edge of sense and non-sense.