Filter Photo is pleased to present Imprints & Abstractions, a three-person exhibition featuring the work of Brenda Biondo, Judy Haberl, and Rita Maas.
Imprints and Abstractions brings together three artists with material interests in photography—both the optical and the physical components that make up an image. At its core, photography is a printmaking medium and the production of multiples is inherent and assumed. But often the more physical aspects of printmaking are left out of photography, especially in digital photography where much of the work is done on the computer and not in the darkroom. The printmaker’s marks in a wood-block or etching are replaced by the mechanized reproduction we take for granted in photography. The artists in this exhibition each approach photography as mark-makers and bring the joy of materials and the uniqueness of photographic properties back to the forefront of the medium, resulting in abstract images that embrace formalism and indexicality.
Brenda Biondo’s images from her two series, Paper Skies and Moving Pictures, are created by re-photographing a folded and/or cut photograph of a sky image, grey clouds, blue sky or sunset, in front of the actual sky with no post-production manipulation. In Paper Skies, the juxtaposition of the print against the actual sky creates an abstract image that emphasizes the ambiguity between the real and the reproduced and allows the original printed photograph to be seen in a new context as a three-dimensional geometric form. The paper on which the original image is printed transcends its role as simply a substrate for photographic imagery and becomes an active ingredient whose edges, texture, and shape play a key role in the final image. The images that incorporate motion are from Moving Pictures, which introduces time and motion as a point of interaction, literally blurring the line between what is real and what is reproduced, revealing a synthesis that cannot be seen with the naked eye.
Judy Haberl takes her inspiration from the humble cutting board, which in a kitchen is a culinary tabula rasa. Much of what happens in kitchen preparations involves the daily prep work for cooking meals that land on the table. Haberl creates her cutting board images by photographing and also printing via an intaglio process. The cutting boards become a record of skill and labor made visible in this intersection of food-prep and printmaking, both types of mark-making processes. It serves as an ongoing visual document that literally records marks made on cutting boards—chopping, slicing, and dicing—revealing marks of labor that would otherwise vanish. The resulting abstract photographs reveal the traces and intricacies of various types of food preparations.
Rita Maas’s Residual Ink Drawings play with reclaimed materials from the inkjet printing process to draw attention to a basic premise of photography—that it is a reproduction of something outside itself. Maas collects empty ink cartridges and maintenance tanks from inkjet printers, and either pours or stamps the unused ink directly onto photo rag paper, allowing the materials to take the lead in the forms they create. These unique drawings are then digitally reproduced (scanned and printed via an inkjet printer) and the two images, original and reproduction, are displayed side-by-side. The original source drawing is generated by systematic chance and is created directly from inkjet printing materials. The reproduction is a result of a deliberately mediated process and is a translation of photographic digital data. By combining these two distinct and usually incompatible modes of image making, Maas sets up a tension between the two realities: the analog and the digital, the actual and the artifice. The inkjet print reproduction of the abstract original becomes a representation of the ink itself.