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Prospect and Refuge, an ongoing series of work by photographer Chris Engman, investigates the medium of photography through complicated juxtapositions. This body of work explores the relationship between illusion and materiality, nature and the man-made universe, moment and memory. Through Engman’s laborious process—a careful documentation and detailed re-creation—the artist asks the viewer to consider how we understand photographs and how we experience the world.
Engman works with photographs as objects in physical space, scaling them to fit into the confines of a constructed environment. A mass of photographic images is meticulously transferred to the material surfaces of a space—covering the walls, ceiling, floor, and everything in between—then photographed from one single vantage point. The result is a “straight” photograph of a manipulated existence—a fabricated reality that feels incredibly real. The logic of the two spaces overlaps, sometimes agreeing and sometimes colliding. A photograph, here and by analogy, tries and fails to be a container for moments and places.
Containment, a new site-specific work created for the FotoFocus Biennial, gives viewers a rare glimpse into Engman’s manufactured “architectural landscapes.” This constructed environment fuses the tangible and surreal, playing with preconceived notions and expectations about time, space, memory, and images as truth-telling mediums.
This project exploring Engman’s Prospect and Refuge series features two parts: Containment, an installation in the street level gallery, and a suite of photographs in the main gallery opening in conjunction with the exhibition Wide Angle: Photography Out of Bounds.
Recognizing photography’s central role in collage, Wide Angle includes artists who manipulate and recompose imagery to recontextualize narratives drawn from our current social, political, and cultural climate.
These multimedia artists blur the lines between different mediums—challenging the high and low art conventions—and push the boundaries of photography by rearranging, patterning, and dramatically altering images to rewrite the traditional visual language. Through this manipulation, images are forced out of context in often bizarre, subversive, and humorous ways in a translation of the current culture.
Even before the term “collage” was popularized by Picasso and Braque, the method of cut and paste was common throughout art history—a powerful tool to narrate and confront the situational. Collage evolved through Dada and Surrealism, into Pop, and remains a relevant and appropriate medium to navigate the modern day. From traditional handmade photomontage to experimental machine-assisted assemblage, the collage process still offers a unique method of social critique.
Wide Angle includes international artists recognized in the genre alongside artists from the region working with collage-inspired techniques.
Featured Artists: Jimmy Baker, Kathe Burkhart, Harry Callahan, Tom Friedman, Robert Heinecken, John Houck, Mike Jacobs, Sol Lewitt, Goshka Macuga, Rick Mallette, Christian Marclay, Marilyn Minter, Laurel Nakadate, Seth Price, Robert Rauschenberg, Brett Schieszer, Sheida Soleimani, John Stezaker, Sigrid Viir, John Wesley
650 Walnut St
Aronoff Center for the Arts
Cincinnati, OH 45202
Free to the Public