Light Now: Dazzle Paintings and Photographs
To inaugurate Galerie Lelong’s fall season, multidisciplinary artist Jane Hammond will present her latest body of work, the “dazzle paintings”—a stunning combination of painting and photography in which the artist infuses the still image with a sense of flow, interactivity, and mutability. Paired with the dazzle paintings will also be a new collection of the artist’s silver gelatin prints. Light Now: Dazzle Paintings and Photographs opens to the public on Thursday, September 8, from 6 to 8 pm, and the artist will be present.
For many years, Hammond has incorporated a vernacular of found images throughout her mixed-media work. The result of a process of collecting, imagining, and combining, Hammond’s photo vernacular now consists of over 10,000 snapshots. Since 2005, she has drawn from the images to create photographic works—incisive and imaginative black-and-white compositions that employ classic formal concepts while challenging the notion of the photographic medium as representative of personal and cultural memory.
Hammond expands upon the photography to create what she calls the “dazzle paintings” for both the materials used and the phenomena that ensues. Consisting of hand-painted images derived from vernacular photos, the paintings bear a captivating surface of mica sheets with gold, silver, copper, and palladium metal leaf applied over Plexiglas. The dazzle paintings are both reflective and translucent and respond differently in various light conditions and from different vantage points. As light strikes and penetrates the layered surfaces and elements come forth and disappear as the viewer’s physical relationship to the work changes, the paintings present an immediate, interactive experience for the viewer.
Moreover, the fluctuations in the paintings affect how the paintings are perceived conceptually—as color and value shift, so do the semiotics of the image. These concepts of conditionality and interactivity are at the heart of the paintings. Further drawing the viewer in is the enchanting, relatable imagery from Hammond’s vernacular photography. For example, Girl in the Air catches a father and daughter in an intimate, playful moment. The combination of familiar scenes with the interactive effect of the painting captures the essence of Hammond’s latest body of work. In the artist’s words, the dazzle paintings are about “marrying the shared social space of the cultural with the individually experienced moment of the phenomenal.”
Since Hammond’s most recent exhibition at Galerie Lelong in 2008, her work has been presented in numerous museum exhibitions, including a solo photography show at the Museum of Contemporary Art, Denver and exhibitions of her renowned sculptural mixed-media work Fallen at the Museum of Contemporary Art San Diego and the Taubman Museum of Art in Roanoke, Virginia. Fallen will also be on view beginning in September, the 10th anniversary of 9/11, at the FLAG Art Foundation in New York City. Hammond’s work is currently featured in the touring exhibition Houdini: Art and Magic, which opens at the Contemporary Jewish Museum in San Francisco on September 30.