Guest Artist for May 2021 –
May 3rd - May 29th
Gallery Open Thursday – Saturday 11 AM – 3 PM
Layers: An exploration of alternative process
photography and paper collage embracing
the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi.
I stepped to the artistic plate late in my life seeking my degree at the age of 55 in graphic design and photography. Like so many other photographers before me, I sought the perfect image. I bought expensive equipment and labored under the impression that the perfect photo required just the right f-stop, film speed and exposure. Nothing could have been further from the truth.
As time went on, I developed an understanding of the importance of the visual stories that unfold within the frame of the camera lens. Relationships of the objects within the frame and how these connections play upon each other are what drives my work. The right camera settings are not as important freeing me up to see the beauty of the object and the moment. Imperfections occur and I embrace them.
Not satisfied with the results of my images printed on paper, I began to explore alternative production processes looking to combine my images outside of the traditional photo paper platform. I have been very successful using these non-conventional substrates by printing
on transparency film and then transferring the image directly onto the substrate. I have transferred on to salvaged metal, Venetian plaster panels, glass and wood. This process, generally referred to as digital alchemy, continues to develop leading to my latest series, Layers.
I have now expanded my understanding of the transfer process and produce emulsion lifts (the removal of the photo emulsion ink from the transparency film by sealing then soaking it in water). I also transfer directly onto Reemay, a nonwoven fabric, which produces an ultra-thin, translucent image. The wonderful thing about my new direction is the imperfection that is created. No two are ever alike.
All of this has led me to discover the Japanese concept of wabi-sabi and how it relates to my work and my life. Wabi-sabi isn’t quite an aesthetic and it isn’t quite a philosophy. It’s somewhere between the two, a way of seeing, understanding and appreciating the value of imperfect objects. When married with the flaws present in the many different art papers such as Washi, Kozo, Lokta, Banana, Indian and silk my images take on a new direction as I balance the importance of the image with the papers in my composition. - Leslie Wilkinson, photoartbyleslie.com