Works from May, 2022
My intention was to delay posting images from Weeks and Months, after my photography for it ended on December 31, 2022, until more of it was complete. Then, in May 2022 I visited Joliet, Illinois, and my dear friend Brian Hischier, who lives with his family in a nearby Chicago suburb, for a week of photographing. My goal was to garner images of things different from what I could find Chicago, partly with Brian's help, and he asked if he could record my shooting on his own video. Of course. That was almost a year ago. Now he has completed the video, Dreams of Lost Wholeness, which offers an introduction to this work. I don't typically like art documentaries, but, while admitting I am not a disinterested observer, I do really like this one, which presents me and my work as well and as fully as I could imagine possible in eighteen minutes. Not wanting to ask Brian to delay making it available, I decided to accompany its debut with the presentation of nine selected works from May, 2022, when it was recorded.
My procedure, at least in the four first types of work in this project, which present days, weeks, months, and years, is to select twelve images from the often hundreds I shoot on a day. Four go into large diptychs representing a whole year; four into four pieces representing months; four into works for each week. No image is repeated in those, but then the twelve I have used are also arranged into works presenting a single day. I have posted here all the months works for May 2022, and all the weeks works from the week I spent near and in Joliet. Eventually all the works for this month will be posted on my site. I hope that the richness of these art works will increase when the viewer looks at the different images selected from a day, eight of the twelve of which can be found here for seven days, and five for seven other days, and four for the rest of the days of this month, so that looking at one image will conjure up memories of the others, placing each image in the mental field created by an awareness of the larger whole.
Please note that I have posted large image files, files that, though still at much lower resolution than used to make the actual prints, should support enlarging each work, even to the point where one photograph fills the screen. I invite the viewer to scroll around, look at a few adjacent images together, reduce the image size to display an entire Week on screen, then enlarge to view several images and even only one. It should go without saying that none of this work will survive on phone-sized screens, devices that degrade our feel for the world even more than larger screens inevitably do.
STATEMENT: WEEKS AND MONTHSI began photographing for my most recent, and sixteenth, project, Weeks and Months, on March 1, 2021, in part in response to a year of lockdowns. This project required me to shoot a group of images of a single subject on each day, and to select and arrange them into works presenting days, weeks, months, and years. As with every new project, I did not find words that hint at the goal I didn't consciously understand until long after beginning, when a phrase came to me, "a dream of lost wholeness."
In earlier states of being in the individual and in our species, the separations that drive our lives and our culture today had not yet appeared. In infancy, we have not yet learned to differentiate self from the world, and in a far earlier period of human civilization, before the emergence of writing, one can guess that life was mostly lived on a more primary and direct level, as objects were seen through the eyes of the observer rather than through the mediation of words or constructed images.
Wholeness can only be a dream for us today, and can no longer be literally present. Thus I seek to connect images by artificial manipulations, such as juxtaposing two so that lines in one will continue across the other, or so that shapes and colors rhyme or contrast. Yet all things are connected. The same elementary particles constitute all substances; the carbon atoms in coal are identical to those in living beings. The world is in truth whole, and it is our minds that divide it against itself.
TO THE PROSPECTIVE VIEWER OF WEEKS AND MONTHS
I worry that given the way most look at art today, my work will not register at all. It is not designed to make an impression at a glance, and certainly not based on some simple idea behind it. The only way to have any hope of getting a glimpse of what I have in mind is to look at every image in one of the grids, slowly, and to look again, and then to compare each not only to the images adjacent to it but to others nearby, and then to others more distant, comparisons of shapes, implied directions, colors, and subject matter as well. An interconnected network of similar and contrasting forms, implied movements, and varied spaces should gradually emerge. Everyone views art at different speeds, of course, but I cannot imagine any of the Months registering in interesting ways in less than five or ten minutes.
Image: Weeks and Months, May 2022, Large Weeks 3V