Urban Noise combines an exploration of the aesthetic and conceptual value of image failure by exploiting the artifacts produced by false exposure in digital photography with a contemplative study of the contemporary urban environment.
The contemporary urban environment is flooded with so much information that we necessarily turn most of it into background noise to survive. There is so much conflicting information that competes for our attention that I am intrigued by how we sort out our valuation of what is worth our attention. I seek to discover my own stillness within the overwhelming cacophony of contemporary information overload through the act of unconventional street photography.
Sublime Noise began as an experiment to see if I could aestheticize digital noise to reveal a beauty not seen before. I found a visual texture that transfigured the literal to allow an expression of the sublime. To recognize the sublime is to recognize something larger that transcends human culture and what it means to be a human being.
The figurative form came to play a prominent place in my work because it represents the sublime as a mystical human experience where we transcend our biology. Are we material creatures having spiritual thoughts, or spiritual beings having a material experience? This paradox lies at the heart of what it really means to be a human and to find one’s self. I use the figure to provide an entry point for the viewer to find a personal connection with the sublime.
These images are created in unexceptional circumstances when I abandon my will over the image and surrender to the moment. This is when the sublime is revealed in the ordinary, which represents a state of being that I wish to achieve: a place where the noise of disunity is resolved into something beautiful, where all is one.
Token Feminine In this body of work I examine mannequins in storefront windows as symbols of consumer culture. I see them as emblems upon which the desire and fantasy of sex and fashion are draped and from which complex valuations of body image are ingested. The mannequin is a token feminine presence used to impart cultural conventions of the idealized female image.
I dissipate these literal mannequin pictures by interrupting the expected information and accepting the digital noise, which are undesirable artifacts produced by false exposure, inherent to the process of capturing digital images. This allows me to explore the nature of the boundary between the reverie of the token feminine and the reality of the commercial icon.
'Scapes is a collection of meditative landscape based images that play with the reduction of literal visual detail in order to celebrate a quiet reverie of time and place. We think we know because we see, but we mostly see what we already know. We only perceive the world as a kind of solid fixed experience, but material nature is fundamentally made of immaterial energies. To challenge this perception I use digital imaging technology to record the artifacts that are created by false exposure, which is caused by the interference of the sensor recording non-visible energies. These energies are divided into two categories; those endemic to the camera system such as the heat of the sensor and the electrons coursing through the circuitry. The second is called cosmic noise, which is any energy outside the camera system that moves electrons down into the pixel ports. The result produces large abstracted and often minimal landscape images wherein the recognizable details of photography are replaced with visual details of produced by a myriad of energies that affect the image recorded. This visual effect is, in effect a a record of the energetic nature of physical reality. These 'scapes thus become glimpses into the mysterious immaterial nature of physical place and offer a window into the vast wonder behind the veil of material perception.
Metagraphs Artist Statement
I intentionally subvert the visual photographic record with artifacts that are endemic to digital imaging in order to reveal energies we normally do not see. We live in an energetic universe and are constantly in relationship with different forms of energy that affect us, but we don't realize it. We think we know because we see, but we really only see what we already know. Enduring truth is found not in its outward appearance, but within the relationship and coherence of energies connected both within and with those that surround us.
I call my work both Energy Paintings because it is a hybrid process, simultaneously photography and painting and yet neither, and Metagraphs because the artifacts I work with are records of energies inclusive of and beyond those of visible light. My work creates a fusion of the aesthetics and visual concerns of a painting with the technology, the aura of truth in the visual record and the time continuum dilemmas of (photo)graphy. The artifacts I work with, commonly called digital noise, are created on a digital sensor by the influence of energies other than light. These artifacts are both records of technological processes as well as that of “cosmic noise,” the energy signatures that pervade the cosmos, our planet, our built environment and our bodies. Thus the images transform themselves into a kind of hyper-vision showing aspects of reality we do not normally see, both metaphorically and literally. These records of unseen energies hint at the expansive nature of reality and the limitations of our capacity to perceive it.
My pieces are constructed from archival prints of digital photos on Japanese paper and/or photo transfers onto canvas or painter’s boards. Acrylic and varnishes are applied to the pieces to develop both surface texture and gesture in order to accentuate the ambiguity of the medium(s). I create a singular large artwork as well as a small edition series from each image. I take pleasure in uncertainty, for it offers room for discovery. I aim to stimulate wonder both about my process, my medium and their interpretation.
Sol Hill, 2016