Metagraphs Artist Statement

I resonate with artists who push the boundaries of their medium and achieve the unexpected. Artwork that achieves something completely unexpected from its material does the rare thing of combining the authentic self expression, realized through relentless self exploration through exploring the potential of the artist’s materials, with an exemplification of the boundlessness of human potential, as we continually discover novelties that expand our collective consciousness. I became interested in the “materiality” of contemporary digital imaging.  Photography lends itself to representing things that are tangible and known. Through examining the known, it is possible to infer the less obvious. This practice belies the conceptual tradition in photography. 

I use the digital camera's sensitivity to record any energy that moves electrons into the pixel ports during the exposure in order to upend this tradition. All photographs are records of light energy, yet a digital camera is capable of a large degree of false exposure by recording energies other than light. False exposure creates artifacts commonly known as digital noise. These artifacts are the “material” that I have become interested in.

There are two categories of energy that produces false exposure. The first is endemic to the camera system which includes heat energy on the sensor, electrons that stray from the circuitry and land in the pixel ports, and readout noise where the electrons carrying binary data get scrambled in their chaotic course off the circuitry. The implication is that noise is endemic to the “materiality” of digital photography. The second, more fascinating, category is called cosmic noise which refers to any energy outside of the camera system that moves electrons into the pixel ports during exposure. The implication of cosmic noise is both broad and deep. It is a visible reminder that we are able to directly witness only a small amount of reality, and that truth is largely beyond our senses. My goal to record as much of this other to subvert the photo-graphic paradigm in order to create images that capture more than we are able to see and thus to call into question what we think we know because we see. I call my camera based work Metagraphs because they are a recording of much more than just visible light.

The recognizable sense of these images such as the figure or sense of environment comes from the photographic record while the abstracting lyrically textured overlay of artifacts is the record of energies unseen, which I like to think makes the invisible energetic thumbprint of the universe we inhabit tangibly visible.  This inspires in me a great sense of wonder and mystery, conditions that I find to be extraordinarily liberating. The work is printed on Japanese paper and applied to painter substrates such as board or canvas and coated with layers of UV protective varnish and acrylic, which has the wonderful effect of enhancing the ambiguity of the medium.