Once Again


title: Once Again
year: 1997
body of work: “Irregular Outings”
series: “Portraits of Semi-Darkness”
medium: Light Jet print face mounted with matte lamination and framed.
size: 48″ h x 58″ w
edition size: 1 and 2 AP
collections: TBD
availability:  1 and 2 AP

artist brief:

The prints in this series are 35 mm photos which are digitized (scanned), and then have a detail of their color duplicated and spilled outside of the pictures edges to create a surrounding color field. They are then reprinted with Light jet technology, mounted full frame on Cintra, face mounted with matte lamination, and framed with thin matte white frames.  Later manifestations are face mounted to matte Plexiglas, mounted on Cintra and framed with thin matte white frames.

“Portraits of Semi-Darkness”

“We could paint semi-darkness in semi-darkness.  And the ‘right lighting’ of a picture could be semi darkness.” – Ludwig Wittgenstein from his Remarks on Color.

Sometimes one finds themselves in a room that has suddenly grown dark as the sun is going down. Not enough sunlight is left to fully illuminate the interior of the room, and the room’s electric lights have not yet been turned on.  For example,  you begin to read in the late afternoon, and because you had been absorbed in your book, look up after an hour or so to find a transformed environment.  Then, feeling disoriented from not perceiving any transition, just sit in the growing shadows and watch the fading light define things partially out of indeterminate depths.

Tracing the soft lights fuzzy contours off into the barely distinguishable hues approaching black, ones eye’s adjust and re-adjust from discerning form and color to excavating these things from shadow.  This activity kicked in upon arriving at a hotel room one late afternoon and set the parameters for taking some photos. Seven resulting snapshots were printed, digitized, surrounded by a hue extracted from a shadow within itself, and re-printed.

From this short bit of time before night, a particular study of colors came about focused on hard to see hue content in dark shadow, this occurring during the moments when the photos were being taken, as well as, when looking at the printed imagery.  From the discernible parts of each image, to their shadowy parts , to their opaque field, and back, then onto one another and back, diversity of hues within shadow becomes apparent. Ones eye’s adjust and re-adjust from discerning form and color to excavating these things from shadow.

After photographing this room, I had discovered that the room is frequently used by commercial photographers for shoots.  This interests me since my use of this room fits somewhat within its history of use, that is, I am photographing something that is regularly photographed. The room is a location surveyed, and re-surveyed before and after my arrival with the specific intent of making pictures.  In the case of commercial photographers, the pictures are of something or someone specific in the room such as celebrities or models in designer clothing.  My shoot was without, lights, models, or outfits, so the focus was on the room and its furnishings in available lighting.  Hence, with little or no concern for a photographic subject, the pictures taken offered a set of variables which offered visual matter to extract and scheme from via computer and digital printing.

Roland Barthes has discussed painting as being a paternal ghost in photography.  It would seem that with the use of a computer and digital printing in the case of these images, photography is itself a kind of paternal ghost.

-K. Hanley 1997.

Regarding the body of work:

“Irregular Outings” is made up of the final images in the “Sentiment and Vagrancy” period, 1996 – 1997.   A common thread which appears through all the work in “Sentiment and Vagrancy” seems to be a kind of phantom chasing.  That is the work seems to conjure effects that occur between elements like colors, colors and lines, flat and illusionistic picture space, sentiment and formalism, memory and retinal impact, movement and intention – effects that are not attributed to any one thing but float between two or more tendencies. In brief, the pictures I make utilize: inseparable yet incommensurable parts like illusionistic or photographic space and color fields, resonance’s in color relationships, and untraceable mark making patterns that cause spatial disturbances.  When using photography, travel creates the momentum for taking pictures providing subject and circumstance in a continual stream. I look through photos that I had taken in travel or while wandering around, with an interest in encouraging what is unfamiliar about any given image. I approach this task by pushing appearances in various directions within each picture using a computer and Ink Jet printing, and by playing off the relations which arise between images.  I choose photos that  relate to one another through numerous formal considerations (color, compositions, effects…), and insight tangents (amplify detail within the pictures).  A shadow, light source, or sometimes an object in the space of a picture I am working with will have a detail of its color duplicated and spilled outside of the pictures edges to create a color field that comes out of, goes around, and back into the image in a continuous loop.  Pigment and picture are combined in a flip flopping of implied depths and solid colors, at once continuous and discontinuous, inseparable and incommensurable. Once such material relationships are activated, I found pictorial content strayed from subject matter, continually re-focusing on the gap between picture and representation, formalism and sentiment since sensory born relations in appearance interfered with the tendency of prioritizing communication.  The travel photos tell nothing to clarify a sight but utilize and escalate the strangeness of the sight by its very appearances.  The emotion or feel that is instigated by the pictures is present yet un-anchored by communication due to distracting material investments.  In other words, the pictures at once appeal to ones feelings via the senses, while they simultaneously offer enough physical distraction for the senses to ambiguate the feelings elicited.  This set of observations inspired the title “Sentiment and Vagrancy”.   – 1996.

Kevin Hanley 2006. All rights Reserved.  Reproduction by permission of artist only.