Alternative Process, Photography, Mixed Media
Gail Erwin explores nature, landscape and the built environment, looking at mystery and allure; patterns, rhythms and harmony. Energy and dissipation, growth and regeneration are the forces that shape our world, creating tension and duality. Man builds and nature overtakes mankind’s efforts and leaves us with ruins to contemplate. These artifacts brood in silence, softened by time. They are strange and beautiful in their decay. Erwin creates richly layered and tactile images. Shadows add depth and mystery. Time, age and memory are reflected in image and process.
Erwin’s process combines twenty first century digital technology and 19th century photographic techniques, creating new, unpredictable images, and transforming the original digital photograph. Cyanotype and Van Dyke Brown are nineteenth century non-silver alternative photo process in which an emulsion is painted on a paper or fabric surface, exposed to light and then developed in water, turning blue or brown. Twenty first century digital photographs are made into contact printing negatives by inverting them on the computer and printing the result on transparency film.
Printing photographs in an antique process, focuses attention on the sublime, resulting in subtle interpretations of idealized landscapes. The images of Arcadian, bucolic landscapes enfold and envelop the viewer. There is a sense of longing, a sense of being hidden amongst the trees. Of finding an aerie or sanctuary in the foliage. “My intention is not to depict nature but to create images that reflect what it leaves me with–the sensations and memories.”
Niches. There is mystery in the empty niche, the partially opened door, the layered view. Light plays over images in unexpected ways, it glows from beneath a closed door, or through a crack that lets in a sliver of light.