Within the pervasive trends of the digital revolution, a moment arose where it seemed like images were bound to be stored as files on hard drives rather than printed and held. In the wake of this tectonic shift there has been a pressing return by artists to explore photography’s physicality. Many of the artists in Light & Matter make a crucial claim for photography’s existence in the realm of physical space that cannot be isolated to digital screens. Other contemporaries take this further, using technology like our smart phones and new virtual reality platforms that further confuse physical space, showing us how the shallow space of the screen as an object alters our sculptural perception.
In 1970, the Museum of Modern Art challenged the then-popular notion that photographs were “taken rather than made” in the genre-expanding exhibition Photography into Sculpture. Curator Peter Bunnell highlighted artists ranging from the physicality of alternative chemical processes to three dimensional works on unusual substrates. Since then, a heightened exploration of the final object or form the photographic image takes has become an increasingly expressive pursuit for artists, with some photographers now working primarily in sculpture and installation.
Celebrating Catherine Jansen’s groundbreaking cyanotype installation The Blue Room and works from Photography into Sculpture artist Bea Nettles from the Michener Art Museum collection, this exhibit surveys regional contemporaries continuing to diversify the forms photography now embodies.
A catalogue will accompany the exhibition.
Light & Matter: The Photographic Object is supported by the Photography Patrons Circle of the James A. Michener Art Museum.
The publication is generously supported by Aaron Rudolph.
Download the accompanying Dark Matter app developed by Christopher Manzione from