Light Tight : New Work by Meggan Gould and Andy Mattern
This two-person exhibition creates a visual conversation about how the tools and conventions of photography can be reconsidered and manipulated. The title of the show refers to the need to keep light sensitive material covered up, or “light tight,” until it is ready to be used.
Gould’s work has long been characterized by an ongoing exploration of how photography affects the way we see the world. In her most recent series Don’t Open Box in the Light (2015-2016), she uses photographic sheet film, but not in the usual way. Instead of placing it in a camera to capture latent images, she renders it impotent by rubbing away the emulsion, burnishing what is left, and then drawing on it using pigment ink drained from digital printers. Her methods are both meditative and laborious, intimately reconnecting the artist with her materials while simultaneously creating a hybrid between darkroom and digital photography that defies classification. The final pieces are unique, hand-made images with a patterned, rhythmic appeal.
While Gould focuses on the material aspects of the medium, Andy Mattern turns his attention to the standardization of commercially manufactured photography paper and its packaging and marketing. Starting with the cardboard boxes in which the paper is advertised and stored, Mattern sands and scrapes off their recognizable logos and images before adding tape and other collage elements. His interventions neutralize the boxes’ corporate messages, creating a new surface that denies their original function. He photographs the resulting abstract images, reclaiming the boxes as sites for creative freedom and transforms their corporate messaging into a personal vision. The resulting prints in the series Standard Size (2014) are both straightforward and cryptic, familiar and strange.