Orbgasm is Malone Mills second solo exhibition at Frank Pictures Gallery. We chose the title, Orbgasm, because it imparts the sense of the joy, optimism, mystery, and controversy that surround orb capture in photography.
"Clearly Malone Mills believes in orbs," says Frank Pictures owner/curator, Laurie Frank, "and has represented this belief ecstatically in photographs. I believe in beauty. I don't know if an orb is the basic energy pattern of the spirit world; an alleged life form; or a multi-dimensional being invisible to the naked eye, yet visible as a ball of light on film. I do know that it is almost impossible to find an artist doing something entirely fresh in photography within a context that captures the spirit of the age of which it is a part, and alludes to what is unseen in as visceral a way as what is clearly apparent. Perhaps the only miracle in these photographs is Malone Mills' talent. The photographs are ravishing. They have to be seen to be believed."
Mills' work alludes to many disparate artists, times, and influences: Julius Shulman's architectural photographs; the flatness of Ed Ruscha's seductive landscapes with his unmistakable Southern California iconography floating against the barely defined surface; the spirit photography of Julia Margaret Cameron; and the turgid circles of Van Gogh's Starry Night. Mills has further articulated her vision to find in the subject of her photographs the same circular spheric forms that are mirrored by the orbs themselves. "If you were to ask me, 'what is an orb?' the simple answer is, 'I don't know,'" says Mills (the granddaughter of Olan Mills, the founder of the Southern portrait photography empire). "What it comes down to is this: No one really knows for sure. There are many cases where a person will try to photograph an apparition and the developed photograph will instead show an orb. I used no digital manipulation, no Photoshop or any other technological, digital, lighting or camera-based process to capture the orbs themselves. I simply photographed throughout the dark night and this is what showed up on the film."