Thursday, February 7, 2013

Nick Night's Melting Still Lifes

I have already already declared that Nick Night is one of my favorite photographers here, but it was only a brief mention. It might have sounded like those people who "love" every shoe they ever saw and have a million "favorite" sweaters. I am very selective and Nick Night, like the Harry Clarke post before this one, is one of the artists (photographers) I keep coming back to, and have been for years. Anyway, here is a video about the paintings/photos. This is what Lauren of honestlywtf had to say about it.
Skilled artist and photographer Nick Knight has recently launched a body of work in London, which took him nearly 10 years to develop. Taking large scale floral photography, inspired by 16th century still life paintings, Nick exposes the prints to heat and water during the printing process which results in the most unique and breathtaking hybrid of photography and painting.
Immediately, I was reminded of Valerie Hegarty and her melting George Washington, and destroyed still lifes (not melting exactly). The themes are the same; capturing a moment in time, being inspired by antique paintings and subverting them, questioning the validity of a medium and the validity of the things it captures.  The difference is that these are a hybrid between photographs and painting.

 This element adds another layer of questions. What is the difference between painting and photography? Where is the line? When? These things have been on my mind so the news (yes, I'm always late) that Nick Night must be thinking about these questions also, makes me wonder if something, subliminally in  his other photographs might have inspired me to think about these thing too, or perhaps his work appealed to me because traces of the things I thought about manifested themselves in his work all along, in abstract and subtle ways. Artist always show more than they intend. Since these have been so long in the making, I wouldn't be surprised if the underlying thoughts did show up in random photo shoots he did in the last few years.

It also goes back to the melting clocks in the The Persistence of Memory by Dali. A flower represents time and the life cycle in a very primeval way. A bud is birth, bloom is youth and life, and a withering flower is death. Flowers are generally circular, with a center and sometimes, arrow like stamen. In Momo by Michael Ende, time itself is represented by "hour-lilies". Anyway, flowers are not commonly acknowledged as symbols of time, the persistence or the unreality of it.  

I am going to play oracle: these photographs will inspire the "hottest prints" of either summer or next spring. Melting floral might be the next big thing once the symmetrical floral print thing goes out.

source for above images

The exhibition was not limited to melting still lifes but also to some photographs of plants from the Natural History Museum in London. Although they are full of color they still remind be of Karl Blossfeldt whom I have mentioned before but have yet to post specifically about. In case you are not familiar, his photographs of flora were meant to reveal the amazing architecture of plants. If you follow this blog, you will recognize that this leads us full circle.

source up until last source

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