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"Optic Nerve: Abstract Colour Photography"
2003-11-21 until 2004-01-17
Photofusion Photography Centre
UK United Kingdom
Optic Nerve brings together the work of six artists who share an experimental and unconventional approach to photography. Often working without cameras, lenses, film or even light, they all produce luminous, colour-saturated images that question traditional ideas about what a photograph is and how it can be made. Rather than capturing a single 'decisive moment', they create images that record the transitory passage of time, tracing and superimposing the optical effects of improvised but highly controlled processes to reveal new visual spaces and seductive tonalities.
Their work has a simplicity and visual intensity that is both contemplative and challenging and suggests many possible connections to modernist painting and visionary cinema. Films by Stan Brakhage, co-founder of Anthology in New York and much acknowledged avant-garde filmmaker will be shown at The OTHER Cinema in London's West End and will be introduced by the curator and contributing artist Roderick Packe.
It is to the work of experimental and abstract filmmakers, of whom Stan Brakhage and Jordan Belson are perhaps the most well known, that the Optic Nerve artists can most closely be compared. The directness, simplicity and inventiveness of their use of materials and light are a part of what they have in common: contrary to much current manipulation of photographic imagery, no computer technology is used here. Optical, chemical and mechanical effects and experimental techniques that intensively explore the potentials of natural phenomena are common to all of these artists. Rather than technical sophistication or digital complexity, they are concerned with inquiry, invention and intuitive improvisation through simple manual processes that have their equivalent in the work of Brakhage or Belson.
Derek Horton, catalogue essay
The exhibition is curated by Roderick Packe and organised by Wolsey Art Gallery. A full-colour catalogue with an essay by Derek Horton accompanies the exhibition and is availalbe on request.