ANGELL GALLERY is pleased to present Let There Be Light, a group exhibition curated by associate director Bill Clarke, which features work by seven Toronto and New York-based artists who produce photo imagery using in-camera and darkroom processes. A Scotiabank CONTACT Photography Festival Featured Exhibition, the show runs from May 11 to June 16, 2018 with an opening reception and artist talk on Friday, May 11 at 7:00 p.m.
I have seized the light – I have arrested its flight! – Louis Daguerre
Ever since French artist Louis Daguerre’s experiments in the darkroom in the 1820s, and his compatriots Étienne-Jules Marey and Georges Demeny’s techniques of capturing human movement 60 years later, scientists, inventors and photographers have searched for methods of creating images that employ light as something other than a tool to illuminate an object or a person situated before a camera. By the 1930s, Man Ray’s adaptation of the photogram (into what he termed ‘rayographs’) had removed the camera’s shutter from the picture-making process altogether.
Writing in On Photography in 1977, Susan Sontag relegates Ray’s photograms, as well as work by László Moholy-Nagy, Alexander Rodchenko and John Heartfield, to the level of “marginal exploits in the history of photography”. However, forty years later, and despite the advent of digital technologies, many artists continue to produce images using analogue processes that capture the spirit of these innovations in their handling of light as a material, and the camera and darkroom as tools and sites of experimentation.
Tim Roda and Jim Verburg sensitively employ ‘outmoded’ equipment, such as photocopiers and pin-hole cameras, in their work. The delicate regulation of light by Isabel M. Martinez within the camera and the careful exposure of vintage photo papers by Alison Rossiter in the darkroom result in floating dream-like abstract forms. Fleeting light effects migrate between the digital and analogue realms in Sarah Sands Phillips' and Katarina Riopel's works, while Liz Nielsen’s arrangements of layered and coloured transparencies produce vibrant and playful images. Each artist, in their own way, beautifully demonstrates that the poetic potential of light remains an enduring area of artistic inspiration and experimentation.
– Bill Clarke