In an awe-inspiring exhibition presented by the Colorado Photographic Arts Center and Art Gym, three artists use bacteria, seeds, light-scattering chemicals, and other unconventional methods to create images that defy categorization and challenge us to question the nature of photography itself.
Andrew Beckham’s series Density and Distance takes viewers on a journey into deep space – or so it appears. Black holes, galaxies, and starry skies are in fact “cosmological analogies” created by thousands of tiny Nicotania seeds that Beckham meticulously hand-sifts onto museum board. His images “fulfill a certain kind of visual expectation, and then defy it,” he writes. “In so doing, the eroding notion of the photograph as an empirical document is thrown further into question.”
Marcus DeSieno also contemplates the scale of the universe in his series, Cosmos. Collecting bacteria he finds on toilet seats, motel hot tubs, and other “ubiquitous and exotic” places, DeSieno swabs it onto film of appropriated images of outer space. The bacteria eats away layers of film, creating unpredictable results. “The nature of photography itself is called into question as the bacteria eats away the image into material abstraction, demolishing the pictorial, and freeing the photo-object from the burden of depiction,” he writes.
Finally, Amy Theiss Giese’s mesmerizing, ghostly images hover between painting and photography, created in the darkroom using a chemical process that does not require a camera or film. “There is no reference to reality, no eidetic instant frozen on a piece of film,” writes Giese. “Yet I am very aware of the moment … There is an element of chance, of controlled chaos, of embracing change.”
“Varied Perceptions truly embodies the theme of Month of Photography 2017, which is ‘Between the Medium,’” said Samantha Johnston, CPAC Executive Director. “All three artists use photography in vastly different and creative applications that challenge us to categorize their work, and push our understanding of the photographic medium further.”
ABOUT ANDREW BECKHAM | ANDREWBECKHAM.COM
Andrew Beckham holds an MA in Aesthetic Theory from Prescott College and a BFA from the Pacific Northwest College of Art. Beckham’s work is represented in collections around the country, including the MacArthur Foundation, the Museum of Contemporary Religious Art at St. Louis University, and the Portland Art Museum. His handmade artist’s books have been acquired for the Special Collections Departments at both the Penrose Library at the University of Denver and the Norlin Library at the University of Colorado, Boulder. Beckham has served as artist-in-residence at the Anderson Ranch Art Center, Rocky Mountain National Park, and most recently at the Center for the Study of Place. He is currently the Visual Art Department Chair at St. Mary’s Academy in Englewood, Colorado.
ABOUT MARCUS DESIENO | MARCUSDESIENO.COM
Marcus DeSieno is a lens-based artist who is interested in how the advancement of photographic technology has changed our relationship to the natural world. He received his MFA in Studio Art from the University of South Florida and is currently the Visiting Professor of Photography at Marlboro College in Marlboro, Vermont. DeSieno’s work has been exhibited at The Center for Fine Art Photography, the Fort Wayne Museum of Art, The Light Factory, and many other galleries and museums, and has been covered extensively in publications including FeatureShoot, Wired, Smithsonian Magazine, and many others. DeSieno was recently named a selection for Photolucida’s Critical Mass 50 and an Emerging Talent by LensCulture for 2016.
ABOUT AMY THEISS GIESE | AMYGIESE.COM
Amy Theiss Giese received a BA from Amherst College, majoring in Fine Arts and she graduated from the New England School of Photography in 2006 before she completed her MFA in Photography with honors at Parsons in New York City in 2009. Based in Boston, she is currently she is an Assistant Professor at the Community College of Rhode Island at the Lincoln campus, and core faculty at the New Hampshire Institute of Art’s low-residency MFA in Photography program.