2018 #40

HotSpots

by Liz Nielsen

"I’ve associated photography with many things in the past; black and white, colour, alternative processes, but most recently with the idea of having no camera."

CAMERALESS

Constant experimentation saw me let go of the traditional negative. I’ve associated photography with many things in the past; black and white, colour, alternative processes, but most recently with the idea of having no camera. I keep asking myself what makes a good photograph and I keep coming back to light. Whether it’s sunlight, strobes or even moonlight, I’m fascinated by how light alone can affect an image. I began to really study it; I even began timing my exposures by counting wavelengths. Eventually I totally abandoned the camera and began working exclusively with light. I layer it and make marks with it, recording its qualities onto paper. The photographs reference only themselves.

HOTSPOTS

My new HotSpots project has departed from my previous work in that I’m working with different textures, focusing more on the backgrounds and presenting the solidity of light in a more sculptural form. In this way the new work is a physical progression from past series, though conceptually it’s a continuation of older conversations surrounding themes of abstraction and landscape leading to a transcendence of vision and thought.

DARKROOM MAGIC

In the darkroom everything feels ethereal but also solid. I used to be scared of the dark because you can’t see your own body. It can feel both infinite and claustrophobic. Now I’ve gotten so used to being in the dark that I can work for hours in a flow-like space where time seems to disappear. When I come out it is as if I was meditating, despite the meticulous calculating and counting of times to expose the layers in my pieces. My mind was working yet relaxed, in a state of calm rhythmic movements.

UNCONVENTIONAL MATERIALS

I find myself regularly taking things out of the garbage or picking things up off of the street. Really, I like using anything transparent or translucent and I think there is a tangible relationship between these materials and photographic film. When it comes to light, anything that emits light can work, although glowing objects don’t work too well. My inspiration usually comes from my immediate environment but this also includes internal spaces such as what I’m reading or listening to.

Read more (1 min read)

Space Stone Stack

Space Stone Stack

Stone Arch Toro

Forest Portal

Overlapping Mountain Shapes

Overlapping Mountain Shapes

Stone Arch

Stone Arch

Portal Hotspot

Portal Hotspot

Overlapping Dimensions

Overlapping Dimensions

Liz Nielsen

New York, US

Liz Nielsen

Liz Nielsen

New York, US

For Liz Nielsen (b.1975, USA), the darkroom is both a deeply contemplative space and an important physical site of production. Whilst the artist has explored a multitude of more conventional methods, she has slowly gravitated towards various cameraless processes, placing paramount importance on the enticing effects of light and its fluctuating results. Abstraction is at the core of Nielsen’s work. By creating her own unique negatives from found objects, she constructs distinctly idiosyncratic and colourful representations of light that engage our imagination.

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