As part of the Spring Collection 08, ArtSlant's curated exhibit from the ArtSlant Community Profiles, Jeff MCLane was chosen along with four other artists to be showcased in the ArtSlant Rackroom. Spring Collection 08 includes: Kathy Kelley, Kristi Kent, Joshua Field, Josephine Haden, and Jeff Mclane.
Jeff McLane, a graduate of CalArts (BFA-07), lives and works in Los Angeles, CA. Drawn to large-format photography, McLane's work is lush and beautiful, ranging from very "painterly" subjects, such as his recent Exteriors series, to his New Promise Land series, in which he choses much more landscape-based imagery, McLane's work is nothing short of beautiful.
ArtSlant corresponded with Jeff while he was out of town on a shoot, about his work and life...
Jeff MCLane on a photo shoot; Courtesy of the artist
ArtSlant: Artists have so many ways of working. What does your process tend to look like?
Jeff McLane, New Promise Land series #2; Courtesy of the artist
Jeff McLane: My practice generally consists of two exercises. The first is the search for locations and subjects. This lets me venture in the city, and physically stand outside with my camera. I spend time, just looking and listening to the location. I feel this is an important part of my work because it gives me a true relationship to my subject. I experience the same, if not greater understanding of the subject, similar to how someone would who is viewing my work inside of a gallery.
The other aspect of my process is done in the studio. By using a large format ink jet printer, I can make proof prints that show the exact output size and scale of the images. This lets me focus of the physical size of the pieces, in a 1 to 1 ratio, in a quicker manor than if I worked in a traditional mural darkroom. Although my final prints are always light jets, the inkjet prints help my construction and editing process.
Jeff McLane, Exteriors series #17; Courtesy of the artist
AS: Can you tell us a bit about your influences? The things that inform your work?
JMcL: The photo world has been forced into a digital workflow very quickly, and while the commercial scene has adapted well, the fine art world has been less excited to change. Because of this, artists are focusing on photography as material, as a chemical process, that is imperfect, and leaves room for chance. There has been a growing interest in more abstract photography in the art community, art that uses the materials as subject.
Some recent influences to me consist of James Welling, Marco Breuer and Silvio Wolf. Their use of photo material, specifically darkroom paper, experiments with non-digital tools and resources. More landscape-based artists, including Mark Wyse and Miles Coolidge, also influence me.
These influences seem to compile into my latest project "Exteriors." In Los Angeles, graffiti is seen on almost even corner, and any blank wall space falls victim to the tagging by way of spray paint. The city sends out groups of people to paint over the graffiti, using city-supplied paint in most cases, which never seems to match the color of the original wall.
I am photographing these coverings, and am cropping the two-dimensional surface of the wall in the cameras ground glass. Once the wall is photographed, the paint that has been spread on the wall acts as my own art-making material. In a way, these walls become my own canvas, and the paint that covers the graffiti becomes my subject. This focus on subject and object is exciting to me, and could not happen without the relationship that photography has to its own materials.
AS: What mediums are you drawn towards? Why?
JMcL: I have always been drawn to photographers who work with large format cameras, specifically the 8x10. The clarity and sharpness that can be used with the format is unbiased to the subject that it photographs, by showing complete focus in all areas of the image. The output size of the prints is also important because of the size the images can be viewed on the wall, giving the photograph a stronger physical presence, similar to large mural paintings.
Jeff McLane, New Promise Land series #10; Courtesy of the artist
AS: How do you stay inspired to work?
JMcL: I feel the more I continue to work, the better my work becomes. I know that may sound silly, but I don't do well when I am not producing anything. Even when I am working on a large project, I sometimes take a day off to create something small and quick. This can be the most fun, and lets me feel inspired.
AS: Can you name a few shows you've seen lately that stuck?
JMcL: I recently got to tour the Margulies Collection in Miami. Miles Coolidge's Street Furniture at Acme. James Welling at Regen Project. Yanai Toister at Sandroni Rey Gallery. (Note: all galleries are in Los Angeles)
AS: Reading? Looking? Listening?
JMcL: I'm enjoying the articles posted on www.wordswithoutpictures.com. Also anything by Bill Jay is reassuring to read as an artist. I can't stop listening to Wilco and Chuck Ragan. The Dylan covers on the soundtrack to "I'm Not There" are amazing. The films of James Benning are inspiring and beautiful.
Jeff McLane, Nightscape series #3; Courtesy of the artist
AS: What are you excited about?
JMcL: These days - photography. A huge amount of people are interested in photography now that the format moves and changes very quickly. Although this makes the field more competitive, it is fun to see so much different work on a daily basis and to be able to discuss it all with so many different people.
AS: Thanks so much Jeff.
ArtSlant would like to thank Jeff McLane for his assistance in making this interview possible.
- ArtSlant Team