James Holroyd: "Flora"
Opening Reception: Thursday Nov 28, 5:30 - 7:30 pm
"Flora" continues Holroyd's exploration of the materiality of photographic imaging. It has facilitated both a move from pinhole to primitive lens photography and the exploration of the physical properties and creative potential of cyanotype on wood panel. Employing a singlet primitive lens made with a commercially available lens component, an artist built sliding box camera was used to shoot 4"x5" film negatives. The lens and the camera, inspired by Alan Greene's Primitive Photography: A Guide to Making Cameras, Lenses and Calotypes, produced images with optical properties similar to photographs from the 1840-1860's. Because cyanotype is a contact printing process, the negative must be the same size as the desired print. The transition from a 4"x 5" negative to a grid of larger internegatives necessitated a digital stage. Thus, digital inkjet internegatives are employed in the darkroom to produce the cyanotype positives where the cyanotype solution is painted directly onto the wood surface and exposed to UV light. These positives are then tiled together to create the larger final photographs.
The scale of an artwork affects the viewer's perception of its subject. This shift in scale, together with the effects of the camera's optics and cyanotype's intense, deep Prussian blue color make the representations of these flowers seem simultaneously familiar and foreign. The elegance of the flowers' inherent design resonates with the random organic patterns of the wood grain on which the images are printed. Using alternative photographic processes for the capture and printing of these images creates a warm and unpredictable "hand-made" quality that allows the photographs in this exhibition to float in a limbo between past and present.
Holroyd has a Masters Degree in English literature and teaches in the Artstream program, a joint project between Bow Valley College and the Alberta College of Art and Design.