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Can you remember your childlike wonder at natural phenomena like moonrise, sunset and the migration of constellations across the night sky? Caleb Charland re-ignites a sense of awe in his photograms, cyanotypes and photographs in Under the Arc of the Sky, his solo show at Gallery Kayafas in Boston’s SoWa Arts district, on view through May 20th, 2017. The public is invited to an Artist’s Reception on First Friday, May 5th, 2017 from 5:30 – 8:00pm.
In an inventive variety of work based on everyday occurrences like the movement of stars across the sky or the cadence of a swinging pendulum, Charland devises simple science projects that allow us to visualize the invisible. Arising from an insatiable questioning of visual possibilities, Charland designs the interaction of elements like candles mounted to a swaying pendulum with the effects of uncontrolled natural laws like gravity. The resulting patterns of dripped wax on undeveloped photographic papers and the subsequent variations that occur during chemical darkroom development yield both unexpected visual impressions and a keen sense of the extraordinary hidden rhythms of the earth.
Noting that “photography was always a scientific medium”, Charland savors reaching back to the methodologies of originators and innovators in the field like William Henry Fox Talbot, Eadweard Muybridge, Étienne-Jules Marey and Harold “Doc” Edgerton to explore the physical possibilities of visualizing energy, motion and time. In an elegant and ethereal photograph drawing a relationship between cosmic and human scales of motion, Charland laid for over two hours beneath the night sky with an open-shutter view camera resting on his solar plexus, simultaneously tracking the movements of his breath and the universe.
Charland embraces photography as “the medium of wonder”, experimenting with photographs of “poured” phosphorescent light, photograms tracking the phases of the moon, cyanotypes of “folded” paper landscapes and a serene series of photographs with water surfaces “inverted to print the sky” (Feature Image and below). In a brilliant blend of art and science, Charland makes the imperceptible tangible and the familiar abstract in photographs poised “somewhere”, he suggests, “between knowledge and uncertainty.”
For more information about this exhibit, go to: http://www.gallerykayafas.com/
Feature Image: “Pendulum with Candle #14502, 2014” (detail) 5 gelatin silver photograms from the series Artifacts of Fire and Wax by Caleb Charland (courtesy of the artist and Gallery Kayafas, Boston).