allan maxwell

PHOTOGRAPHY

 

As a conceptual artist, I use photography to express ideas about life, human nature and aesthetics.  

My constructed, non-documentary images have no other reason to exist, other than an expression of my own idiosyncratic musings. My interests range from conceptual thoughts about photography, to human nature and the construction of the narrative.  

The control of the studio and the formal approach of “building an image” appeals to my most basic instinct as an artist. Photographers like Duane Michals, André Kertész,  Olivia Parker, Jan Grover and Irving Penn, have influenced my thinking about a more studied and structured approach to image making. And, from the John Szarkowski dichotomy of Mirrors and Windows, I see my work as a mirror of my thoughts.

I’ve always been fascinated with the power of the hand made mark. It’s primal, direct, emotional and imbued with deep human feeling. And for me, it is the perfect counter to the precise optical image. Much of my work uses both the hand mark with the optical image, to create a dynamic or tension within the image.

I’ve grouped my work into the following themes.

 

MODERN LIFE/ FAMILY HISTORY: 

These two groups use realism to suggest the sordid and uncomfortable narratives that create the drama of human nature.

I’m fascinated with the nature of humans. And, that particularly “normal” human necessity to form families, which has always felt strange to me. Its uniquely normal structure as something to be observed from afar. My images are an attempt to give visual expression to those observations. 

Both real and imagined, the narrative is told from the first person perspective. Becoming familiar with my own family history and my enjoyment of “reading into” all family photos. I draw inspiration from my personal experience and the notorious and scandal rich history of others. The ability of people to hide part of themselves from public knowledge is well known. And, the ability of some people to have such devious personalities is fascinating in the mechanics of its subterfuge. 

This work also pays homage to the role of the studio photographer, in helping to create a visual record of people and their families. Digitally rephotographing these old photos helps tell a greater story of the passing of photo history from one era to another and from one technology to another.

 

EQUATIONS:

Documenting my personal drawings, attempting to express a nonlinear narrative. These mathematical structures, holding together a Rorschach narrative, of three dimensional objects within a two dimensional drawing. 

 

PHOTO-DRAWINGS:

My film images represent my effort to say something about the physical construct of film. Projected color negative images interacting with human forms all within a studio setting. The final image was a document of a three dimensional studio set. This created the basic 4x5 transparency image, which was scratched and gouged creating a visual tension within the narrative.

 

BONES:

This series is a homage to classicism. A precise arrangement of objects within a two dimensional frame. Usually, to create the illusion of space. These images attempt to manipulate  both the optical and physical illusions of space. Setting one off against the other, creates a visual dilemma in the viewer. Who then must decide how to make sense of the space in the image. Bones, insects, feathers and like objects are used to suggest a primitive, animal like sensibility living in a three dimensional fantasy.

 

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