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2020 SPE Annual Conference: Hosted by The University of Houston | Kathrine G. McGovern College of the Arts | School of Art

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Bridget Conn

SPE Member since 2002
Member Chapter: Southeast

2017 W/SW Juried Exhibition Application Portfolio

After my first few years of studying photography in the late 1990's, I began to shy away from the darkroom. Silver gelatin prints were the standard, and quickly becoming unsatisfying. I wished to see the physical mark in my work, and to create objects. When visiting art museums, I was drawn to paintings – to see brushstrokes and reflect on how each one was put in place by the artist's own hand. I drifted into mixed media and installation, incorporating printmaking into my work. Once digital photography became the standard, the darkroom lured me back, as a silver gelatin print presented itself to me as an object. Chemigrams became a natural progression to explore photographic paper as a physical medium, more than simply the substrate on which an image from the outside world rests.

My chemigrams are made with silver gelatin paper, in normal room lighting, by applying oil-based resists and typical darkroom chemistry. The marks I make directly on the paper are not pre-meditated. The process weaves my concerns of the evolution of photography as a physical and chemical medium with mark-making as an intuitive act. I aim to create a personalized symbolism through my marks, whether the pieces are immediate responses on paper, or constructed mappings in my collages. Each one is a language I read through line, color, and texture that is indicative of steps involved in the chemigram process, as well as the instinctive gesture itself. They satisfy years of concern over the missing physical mark of the artist, and address my contemporary desire to work with a medium that I can't fully control. Each piece bends at least in part to mystery, given the endless variables involved – a welcome circumstance given our society's immediate access to constant correct answers. My work responds to analog photography for its inherent chemical properties and future potential, rather than the sentimentality of its past.

Fissure 2

Fissure 4

Gesture #14

Gesture #12

Free Thought

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