The following images are part of an ongoing project which works with a combination of things - the monochromatic, the act of vision and with layering. The selection of images, in many ways, represent an essential characteristic of my work over the last year or so. In some of my projects, I have been moving towards an approach that is less and less ‘descriptive’, more evocative, more abstract; but still keeping this abstraction grounded to a degree in the real.
In many of the images there is no clear subject. They try to call the viewer’s attention to the lack of concrete and material reality of subject matter. They evoke questions: What are we looking at? What is in front and what is behind the surface? What is the surface? The sense of vision, the absence of the subject and an ambiguity of sight is essentially an important effect. To a degree I am dealing with issues similar to those involved in the work of Uta Barth whose ‘out of focus’ images of domestic enviornments uses blur purely as an expression of the organic act of seeing. By focusing on where the subject would be in a conventional photograph, Barth turns the viewer into the subject. Her work is, essentially, about the act of looking and the act of photographic vision. In my approach, however, I want to share my own visual experience with the viewer - to include a sense of personal sight within the work.
Working with a minimalist palette is also an important feature here. I am, of course, furthering a tendency of producing colour images that are almost black and white. The ‘whiteness’ of the work is a direction that I want to continue in many of my projects. This was suggested to me at the last RM meeting in Paris. The whiteness of the sky and the ‘graphic’ of whiteness in the Suspended State work drew a number of interesting comments. I was strongly advised to push and push this type of abstraction as far as possible and still keep the work overtly ‘documentary’ - to keep it connected to a material objective reality. I think that this is the territory I am working within for the last year or so. For the ongoing project ‘Home’, for instance, this approach has helped me to understand something about my disengagement from landscape and from the past; for 'Suspended State' it has been a conceptual feature of my photographic relationship to abandoned spaces. It is an important strategy which I hope to continue to explore throughout the next few months.
Dublin (Dec 2010)
Maison Des La Photographie, Paris (Nov 2010)