VERVE Gallery of Photography is pleased to present Do Process, a group exhibition of work by eight VERVE Gallery artists. In this exhibition, each artist utilizes his or her own special technique to produce photographic based artworks. Some of the images in the exhibition are made using contemporary processes, while others use alternative processes. Still others are made using both modern digital tools and old proven techniques. These techniques are characterized as “alternative processes” to distinguish the final print from the more ubiquitous gelatin silver print or contemporary digital print. The work in this exhibition ranges from 19th century print making practices, such as, hand-painted Gelatin Silver prints, Gum Dichromate, Bromoil, Mordançage, Photogravure and Albumen printing to more modern digitally composed and mixed media Photomontage prints. The exhibition showcases the history of some of the photographic techniques used over the last three centuries. In order to perfect and master these techniques, each of the artists demonstrates the virtues of perseverance and a passion and dedication to the photographic medium. Moreover, each artist has been open to hours of experimentation, and each is receptive to innovation. This exhibition is a celebration of 21st century approaches to 19th and 20th century photographic processes. All the work in the exhibition was produced especially for this show. The artists will share their formulas and techniques with us on Saturday.
Brigitte Carnochan will be exhibiting hand-painted silver gelatin prints of nudes and still lifes. Brigitte begins her process by using a medium or large format camera to produce negatives rich with information. She then makes a black and white silver gelatin print with a matte finish. Finally, she judiciously and artistically applies oil paints onto the dried print. Some of her nudes take an hour to paint, whereas some of the still lifes can take up to as much as six hours to finish. Because each print is hand painted, no two of Brigitte’s hand-painted photographs in any edition are identical.
Hand-coloring photographs, manually adding color to a black and white print, is almost as old as photography itself. The announcement of the invention of the Daguerreotype in 1830 was accompanied by an almost apologetic disappointment that there was an absence of color on the print. Daguerre and his successors tried assiduously to find a way to fix an image with the “colors of nature,” but without success. As early as 1841, a few of Fox Talbot’s assistants were experimenting by applying watercolor, oils, pastels, dyes, or color pencils to the matte-surface paper of calotypes. Quickly, hand-colored pictures became the norm for those wishing to have their photographic portraits ‘touched up.’ This hand-coloring craft took great skill and because of demand, many portrait painters of the time turned to becoming photographic print hand-colorists. You probably have photographs of your ancestors from the early part of the 20th century that are hand colored.
Brigitte Carnochan’s hand-painted gelatin silver photographs are represented in museum, corporate and private collections. Modernbook Editions published Carnochan’s hand-painted images, Bella Figura: Painted Photographs, in 2006. A limited edition monograph, The Shining Path, was also published in 2006 by 21st Publications. Carnochan was named a Hasselblad Master Photographer for 2003 and her work has been recently featured on covers of Camera Arts and Silvershotz and in Color, Lenswork, Zoom, View Camera, Polaroid, Black and White, and Studija magazines. Three catalogs of her previous work have been published. She teaches photography classes at Stanford University’s Continuing Studies program.
Cy DeCosse will be exhibiting still life platinum palladium and gum dichromate prints. In 2001, Cy DeCosse, with Keith Taylor as printer, began the revival of the gum dichromate technique. In 1858, John Pouncy, in England, made the first color gum dichromate images. This process is capable of rendering painterly images with broad tones and little resolution of detail from photographic negatives using light sensitive dichromates and color pigments. Traditionally, this is a multi-layered printing process that makes full-color images; however, the prints can also be made from any one single color.
Photographers began experimenting with Platinum in Germany in the 1830s. With a platinum print, the light sensitive Platinum emulsion that makes the image is actually imbedded, soaked into the paper, not on the paper’s surface, as is the case with gelatin silver prints. The imbedded Platinum inks give the platinum print a sensation of depth and dimension. Platinum printing is a unique, hand-made process. The photographer formulates the emulsion of Platinum and Palladium for each print so as to produce the desired effect---a brown black, a rich warmer effect than the black blacks in a silver gelatin print. Papers, often hand-made, are coated with the Platinum emulsion by hand. Weather conditions, heat, humidity all affect the finished product. Thus, no two Platinum Palladium prints are ever identical.
DeCosse’s work is in numerous public collections including the England Royal Trust and the Minneapolis Institute of the Arts. His work has been exhibited widely in the U.S. and abroad. There are four books containing Cy’s work. The first is a limited edition book published by The Journal of Contemporary Photography: Volume IV, entitled: Gardens of DeCosse (2000). The book is devoted exclusively to the work of the artist. The images in the book range from the quiet morning’s light falling on freshly picked vegetables to the riotous energy of flowers in full bloom. The second is a catalog for an exhibition held at the Accademia Delle Arti Del Disegno Firenze, Italy in October, 2001, entitled: Cy DeCosse: Play of the Light (2001). His third book is entitled Flowers and Food (2009) and it contains DeCosse’s botanical photographs in Gum Dichromate & Platinum. Florence by Cy DeCosse (2009) is a book of portraits that Cy dedicates to his muse, the city of Florence and its people.
Joy Goldkind’s Bromoil prints in this exhibition are images from her Adagio series. The images are abstractions of dancers created by a double exposure and slow shutter speed so as to deliberately capture the blur of moving figures. The silver gelatin prints are then converted using Joy’s Bromoil technique. She also has her new work in this exhibition where she uses mirrors so as to create images that distort the human figure. Once again, Joy uses the Bromoil process to alter the traditional photograph and thus create a “unique painterly print.”
As the digital world advances and film options decline, Joy finds it necessary to combine the earlier photographic processes with modern world technologies. She creates her negatives using a digital camera and a computer. She then makes prints using a traditional darkroom to create a typical silver gelatin print that she then converts to a Bromoil print. The Bromoil process was introduced in 1907 by E.J. Wall and eventually replaced the Gum Dichromate process. Once an enlargement is made on silver gelatin bromide paper, it is then bleached in a solution of potassium bichromate to remove the black silver image on the print. Then using special brushes, Joy applies the greasy inks to pigment the gelatin surface of the print.
Joy Goldkind currently resides in St. James, NY. She graduated from the Fashion Institute of Technology, NYC in 1963. She has exhibited in numerous venues across the country and internationally including a solo exhibition at the Museo Nationale Della Fotographia in Italy, which now holds a permanent collection of her work. Joy’s photographs have graced the covers of international publications and magazines such as Silver Shotz and Eyemazing. Her work has also been featured in B&W Magazine, Photolife, Zoom Magazine, Color and View Camera Magazine.
Jennifer Schlesinger has spent the past year exploring and perfecting the hand-coated Albumen Paper process. Jennifer’s work in this exhibition is from her new series, Here nor There. Her inspiration comes from observing her young daughter’s innocence and imagination. Jennifer’s images are metaphors for capturing the initial magical and mysterious moments of inspiration. The artist believes that when adults learn to harness our youthful imagination, then we bring forth innovation and progress to the larger world around us.
The recipe for Albumen prints is simple, using everyday egg whites—“Break the eggs into a cup, carefully avoiding the mixture of yolk with the whites….”. Albumen is the sticky substance of egg whites and is the emulsion that is used to coat the paper. Albumen is the perfect process for Jennifer’s Here not There body of work. Albumen combines magical and scientific elements to produce a photographic image and is a perfect example of progress through invention. It is difficult to imagine the moment of inspiration where one of the greatest advancements in photography took place. Chicken yard egg white emulsion with table salt and silver nitrate bound the photographic chemicals to the paper effectively and cheaply. It was the first commercial process for producing multiple high quality photographic prints from a single negative. It leveled the photography playing field for the first time. It meant the medium was available for anyone to use; anyone could be a photographer. Moreover, it meant that pictures (portraits) were, for the first time, available to persons of ordinary means. Most of the photographs made in the 19th century were Albumen Prints. It remained the most viable and popular printing process for about 40 years. Albumen-coated paper was replaced by silver gelatin paper at the beginning of the 20th century.
Jennifer Schlesinger graduated from the College of Santa Fe in 1998 with a B.A. in Photography and Journalism. Her work has been published online and in print in publications such as Black and White Magazine U.S and UK, Diffusion Magazine and many others. Schlesinger is represented in public collections, including the Huntington Botanical Art Collections (CA), The New Mexico Museum of Art and the New Mexico History Museum / Palace of the Governors Photo Archives. She has received several honors in recognition of her work including a Golden Light Award in Landscape Photography from the Maine Photographic Workshops in 2005. In 2007 she was awarded the Center for Contemporary Arts Photography Auction Award. Schlesinger is co-founder of finitefoto.com, a new media collective that investigates and promotes the intersection of photography and culture in the State of New Mexico.
Caitlyn Soldan is VERVE Gallery’s Featured Online Artist, a category of gallery representation that debuts emerging artists. VERVE offers emerging artists an online show of their work and framed images in the gallery for the duration of the underlying exhibition. Caitlyn Soldan’s work is a series entitled Thin Veils, using the Mordançage process. In the work, she takes self-portraits using a pinhole camera. Caitlyn takes her cues from Victorian spirit photography - portraits with spirits. Thus, the images in this exhibition are Caitlyn’s visual improvisations of ghosts, spirits, and hauntings. Caitlyn’s work is ethereal, esoteric, and allegorical.
Mordançage is a 20th century process created by Jean-Pierre, which is based on a 19th century process known as bleach-etch. Bleach-etch is a reversal process for film negatives. The process involves stripping away the darkest parts of the emulsion of a silver gelatin print. This image transformation creates a relief, or a raised area on the print. Water is used to float the delicate silver emulsion on the image so as to rearrange it and dry it back down onto the print. The end result is a one-of-a-kind and thus unique photographic image. The artist chose the Mordançage process for this series because it enhances the themes of time, decay, and mortality in her work. The process also gives the images mysterious and otherworldly qualities, separating them from reality.
Caitlyn Soldan was born in 1988 in Chicago, Illinois. She graduated from Savannah College of Art and Design in June 2011 with a BFA in Photography. Her work explores themes of history, memory and time. Caitlyn prefers working with film and alternative processes but also enjoys exploring the possibilities of combining historical processes with new technology. Her work has been exhibited throughout the United States and France. Caitlyn presently resides in Santa Fe, New Mexico.
Henrieke Strecker, new to VERVE as a represented artist, will be exhibiting Photogravures on handmade paper as well as the Chine-collé process. Strecker’s images are of abstract yet familiar forms. She creates her imagery using plants, trees, and landscapes, as well as animal and human figures; the beauty that is her own backyard. Her hand-pulled original prints do not capture “an isolated moment or paint a realistic picture like a report.” Rather, she gives “an account of small movements and atmospheres”, and shares with us what she has experienced within that time.
Photogravures were invented in 1870s. A copper plate is coated with a light sensitive gelatin. The coated copper plate is then put in contact with a positive photographic transparency and exposed to light. The plate is washed to remove unexposed gelatin leaving a hardened gelatin negative. The hardened gelatin negative that remains on the plate is then inked. The inked etched copper plate is printed in the same way as an etching in a copper plate printing press.
Chine-collé is a special printmaking technique that allows an artist to use very delicate paper or linen that allows finer detail to be pulled off the coated copper plate. The finer detailed paper or linen with the image is then transferred or bonded to another surface, a heavier support not unlike a matte, to which the finer paper or linen is attached. This technique allows the artist to print on a much more delicate surface and also to provide a background color behind the image that is different from the surrounding backing matte.
Henrieke Strecker was born in Freiburg, Germany. She spent her formative years at the foot of the Black Forest of southwestern Germany. In 2008, she immigrated to the United States. She currently lives and works in the White Mountains of New Hampshire where she is surrounded by abundant wildlife and flora. She teaches photography at Plymouth State University. Strecker has an extensive exhibition history showing her work in Europe and more recently in the United States. She lectures and gives workshops in addition to teaching photography courses at Plymouth State.
Maggie Taylor will be exhibiting her most recent work of surrealistic digital montages. Maggie continues the use of animals, people and landscapes placed in the surreal, bizarre photo stages she creates.
Since 1997, Maggie Taylor has created surrealistic imagery using computers, flatbed scanners and small digital cameras. She sees the scanner as a type of light-sensitive device, not much different than a digital camera. In both instances the scanner and camera capture a slice of time. In addition to placing small objects directly on the scanner, the artist also scans daguerreotypes and tintypes that she collects in antique shops and purchases online. The subjects in her images become the cast of characters that shape the artist’s pictorial stage. Once Maggie has finished her creations, she prints them in her studio on an inkjet printer. As is the case with all her creative work, Maggie runs through many test prints, image revisions and adjustments before getting the results she wants.
Maggie Taylor received her BA degree in Philosophy from Yale University in 1983. Maggie’s MFA degree in Photography is from the University of Florida. In 1996, after more than ten years as a still life photographer, she began using the computer for image creations. Her work is featured in Adobe Photoshop Master Class: Maggie Taylor’s Landscape of Dreams, published by Adobe Press in 2004; Solutions Beginning with A, Modernbook Editions, Palo Alto, 2007; and Alice’s Adventures in Wonderland, Modernbook Editions, Palo Alto, 2008. Taylor’s has had one-person exhibitions throughout the U.S and abroad. Maggie’s work can be found in numerous public and private collections including The Art Museum, Princeton University; The Fogg Art Museum, Harvard University; Harn Museum of Art, University of Florida; Museum of Fine Arts, Houston, Texas; and The Museum of Photography, Seoul, Korea. In 1996 and 2001, she received State of Florida Individual Artist’s Fellowships. In 2004, she won the Santa Fe Center for Photography’s Project Competition; in 2005, Maggie received the Ultimate Eye Foundation Grant. She lives in Gainesville, Florida.
Kamil Vojnar will be exhibiting new work in mixed media, Photomontages on paper and canvas from his ongoing series, Flying Blind. Kamil Vojnar’s work focuses on the contradictory world in which we live, metaphorically focusing on the place where beauty and suffering meet. The artist mixes elements from dreams in his work and lets intuition and the materials he uses to guide him to his final image. The artist often revisits his images repeatedly to place them in different contexts, creating variations of one image several times.
Vojnar’s unique approach to his work layers images from many different photographs and textures. Sometimes his work is layered on canvas creating one-of-a-kind pieces, and other times he layers on fine art paper, creating a small edition. In both instances he varnishes with oil and wax, sometimes painting on further with oil paints.
Kamil Vojnar was born in Czechoslovakia in 1962. He studied at the School of Graphic Arts in Prague and began his career as a Graphic Designer. He left the country illegally (it was still Communist at the time), and moved to Vienna. Kamil eventually became a US citizen. Kamil finished his studies at the Art Institute of Philadelphia. He continued his career in graphic design, which later led to illustration and imagery based photography as he working for book and music publishing houses in New York City. At the same time, he continued to create his own imagery. After meeting his partner and having children, going back and forth between France and New York, they settled in France where he had an Atelier that carried his own work. He and his family moved to Los Angeles, CA in 2011. Kamil has received numerous awards including being the recipient of the Jacob Riis Award in 2010.