Pictures of Pictures
MY PROCESS REMOVES information from images and reconstructs them with entirely new physical properties using screen printing.
I print with inks laid out on a physical palette like a painter would. Rather than quickly squeegeeing ink assembly line style, I build up the image with a micro squeegee, layering and blending the image over an extended period. The results are closely related variations that end up looking like the convergence of a painting, a print, and a photograph. Like individual frames plucked from video, these moments aren’t extraordinary on the surface–but they hold space for the possibility of great meaning.
As the digital era generates a visual landscape that is increasingly populated by ephemeral images repeating with no physical presence–three colors of light on flat panels–I think of my work as a claim on the power of images: pictures that are inseparable from their physical presence.
The project is inspired by the nineteenth century field notes and amateur photographs of S.J. Manetta, a third assistant engineer of the merchant steamer era. Aboard a modern diesel ship, I retraced Manetta’s regular mail run between the newly familiar Far East and the surging San Francisco she called home. Supplied with a journal, camera, and lots of time, I took the sixty day route across what is still the biggest ocean in the world and imagined a kinship with Manetta. Her obsession with documenting still moments in unstill times felt appropriately contemporary. When I came home, San Francisco was cycling between boom and crash as quickly as it always has and maybe always will be.
As more of the visual environment progresses towards the digital, I’m curious how formerly unremarkable image-making techniques like screen printing will re-emerge with new questions, experiments, and and largely untapped possibilities. For me it is the ideal medium with which to explore the many layers of modern images. Recent phenomena in the culture at large like Instagram, typewriter collecting, and Holga cameras at Urban Outfitters already point to a renewed fascination with the meaning of pictures. If pictures of pictures were real, they would be made out of the materials and sensibilities of their time. If pictures of pictures were real, they would carry a history.