Photography has been a particularly effective art form for conveying the power of symbolism. It has an uncanny ability to capture a simple image that can represent a much bigger idea. With this exhibition, Signifying the Invisible, we want to explore how the photographic medium can express that power without a camera capturing an image. We are featuring two artists, Bridget Conn and J. Jason Lazarus, who are employing the cameraless photographic process of chemigrams to create prints that represent their artistic visions for how to signify the invisible with the visible.
A chemigram is an alternative photographic process that utilizes traditional photographic paper and chemicals to make uniquely expressive handmade prints that require no camera.
Bridget Conn’s series, Language Acquisition, exemplifies how the chemigram process can lead to spontaneous and uncalculated image making. Her prints of calligraphic gestures reveal what Bridget calls a “secret language” between her and a material that demands you give up some control over the process.
J. Jason Lazarus’ series, Emblem and Artifice: Withered Symbols of the War, started with the chance arrival of a single box of vintage photographic paper that had expired on August 1, 1945 five days before the bombing of Hiroshima. As a history buff, Jason strongly connected with the material and wanted to honor it with project that resonated with its historical context. Using the chemigram process he hand-marked the paper with potent symbols of World War II that are icons of fear and hope, oppression and resistance. Jason presents duality of these rival concepts with diptych prints of each symbol done by reversing the chemigram chemical process for each. He wants us to reflect on what gave these symbols their historic power.