Mark Makers Artist Statement
I really am a Zone System photographer. Or so I thought. If the zone system is about controlling each step of the photographic process to reach a pre-visualized image, then these photograms and thermograms are the extreme opposite. Pho·tog·ra·phy [light+drawn] in its purest definition has never required a camera and film—only the chemical reaction of light and/or heat on sensitized paper. The resultant art of this curious science in the dark is an abstract image from the subconscious.
The photograms are materials of daily life taken to their abstraction. The thermograms are produced with only heat. The process unleashes unexpected reactions that push me to discover the true limits of the materials. Unpredictability becomes the norm. These photograms and thermograms have taught me the essence of complete creative freedom in the darkroom.
These thermograms, a combination of heat, light, and chemicals on photographic paper, represent a step in my artistic journey from B&W printing using various semi-transparent materials to the addition of fluidity in color images to photo-encaustic to this current body of work.
I take ordinary materials from normal daily life and use them in an intentionally extraordinary, i.e. destructive, way. Many of my heat tools are also used in my encaustic works. I cannot predict what will develop since I cannot see how the heat and light has exposed the paper; all I know is to expect the unexpected. For me, the process is highly physical. The primal energy and open mind required is the opposite of “normal” highly calibrated black and white photography. To discover that this abuse of paper in the darkroom actually results in something beautiful and that it came from deep inside my mind is an unexpected gift.
The resultant art of this process in the dark suggests the possibilities of an other world inside the mind.