D.M. Witman 2015
Opening Reception September 10, 2015 Thursday, 6-8pm
Artist Conversation October 29, 2015 Thursday, 6-8pm
End of Exhibition December 29, 2015
There will be work from two portfolios shown: MELT and Supercluster Arion and Other Phenomena.
"The first Melt project has a mail art component. It is reminiscent of many Fluxus projects from the past (It could almost be a Yoko Ono piece). The artist created precious wrapped photographs made of pure gold in the photographic process. She then sends them to various art related and random individuals who must choose to open the package or not. Once opened the unfixed image degrades and is worthless. If left in the packaging it retains it's value but it is unable to be appreciated.
The receiver of the mail has to choose whether to enjoy something that is ephemeral and fleeting or keep the package wrapped - thus conserving the contents but without the ability to enjoy the work. This brings up a host of contemporary theoretical issues surrounding modern art: collecting/commodity and the larger art/world market (all things gold), conservation and the problem of stewardship, randomness of selection vs connoisseurship and the elitist practice of collecting.
The second Melt project appropriates images of snow capped mountains and when the exhibition is mounted we see beautiful salt prints of the worlds highest and coldest altitudes. The images are unfixed and degrade during the three months they are on the wall until there is nothing left."
- Denise Froehlich
“For the past ten years, I have been making photographs without a lens. I didn’t choose this way of working, rather, it has evolved project by project to the sum of a lensless practice. It began with pinholes, and moved next to experiments with slugs and silver gelatin paper, and now in my most recent undertaking, on to salted paper. Each project has found me independently of the other. There is freedom in simplicity and elegance in process. My themes of working revolve around ephemerality, biology, metaphor, and creating synergy- all consequences of dual interest in art and science.” -D. M. Witman
Supercluster Arion and Other Phenomena
From darkness, light and life emerge.
Since the earliest of days, stars have acted as beacons home, simultaneously providing material for stories and fortunes. Our connections to the stars, the beginning and end of all that we know, are deep and unmatched. Stars, and our associations with them, link us all across time, geography, and being.
These celestial night images—my own nebulae and galaxies—aren’t made from dark matter of the universe, but rather by the common slug. Delicate and persistent, the slug moves about from dusk until dawn on gelatin silver paper in my darkroom, making marks through their biology, creating something new. These images exist as microcosms of the cycles of life: feeding, defecation, sex, movement, life and death. It is my hope that these galaxies form new connections from one to another, from the darkness into light.
Dr. Alan Lightman wrote the introduction to the work in the exhibition catalog. The following is an excerpt of his essay:
"In this new work, Witman has taken a minimalist view of the art of photography. Not only has she dispensed with the lens of the camera. She has also dispensed with the whole camera, leaving herself only the naked film. And rather than impose lines and shadows on that film by her own design, she has chosen the commonplace slug – surely one of the slightest and most humble animals on earth – as her agent and accomplice. Her paintbrush is a living creature, and the image is created over time, unpredictably, as the that creature goes about its business of crawling, eating, defecating, unaware that it is achieving a bit of immortality in the traces it leaves behind.
The images. Some are simply white dots against a black background. Some are smudges and swirls and tails. Some seem connected to larger patterns, as if they were part of a life history, while some seem to begin and end abruptly in isolation. Could our own bodies, houses, cities, make similar patterns when viewed from afar by some cosmic being?
Larger questions, stimulated and provoked by Witman’s slug tracings, are: Why do we seek patterns at all? and Why do we seek connections between things? The universe is a vast jumble of sights and sounds and smells. We are thrust into this cosmic sensorium with a brain, a special arrangement of carbon and oxygen and hydrogen atoms that has miraculously developed an awareness of itself and the capacity to think. And with that thinking comes the desperate need to understand. We want to know what it all means. Surely, the cosmos must mean something, our lives must mean something. Surely the universe cannot be a random collection of things, a sheer accident. We seek patterns, in my view, to find order. If not intentionality, at least order, at least escape from a swamp of pure chaos. And we seek connections between things to provide meaning. In discerning a resemblance of Witman’s slug tracings to the majestic display of the galaxies, we find some union between the very small and the very large, between the fleeting and the long lived, between the animate and the inanimate. And if we can also find in these images a touch of beauty, a sense of imagination, and a flight of whimsy and provocation, then we have fully experienced the voyage that all art attempts to create."
DM is a visual artist working primarily in photographic media. Artist, teacher, and explorer - her creative work resides primarily in the realm of lensless photographic works. She is interested in time and its multiplicities; the poetry of space and being; and experience.
Her work has been published and exhibited nationally and internationally and is held in many private collections. She is represented by Susan Maasch Fine Art, Portland, ME. In 2013 her work was published in Lenscratch, BETA, and Le Journal de la Photographie, as well as an exhibition catalog for her solo exhibition Supercluster Arion and Other Phenomena which includes an introduction by Dr. Alan Lightman. Her pinhole photographs are included in many collections and have recently been included in the Bascom’s American Art today: Figures exhibition and featured in the 2013 Ballarat Foto Festival in Australia.
Deanna teaches photography at Unity College, Maine Media Workshops + College, and the Farnsworth Art Museum.
This exhibition is part of the Maine Photo Project (mainephotoproject.org), a statewide photography collaboration in 2105. The Maine Photo Project is organized and supported by the institutions of the Maine Curators' Forum and is generously sponsored by the Bates College Museum of Art, the Bowdoin College Museum of Art, and the Colby College Museum of Art, with fiscal management provided by the Maine Historical Society. The Maine Photo Project is funded in part by a grant from the Maine Arts Commission, an independent state agency supported by the National Endowment for the Arts.
Melt N35 21, E138, 2015; Archival gold toned salted paper photograph; limited edition of 3; 11.5"H x 21.5" W.
Melt N36 E138 31, 2015; Archival gold toned salted paper photograph; limited edition of 3; 11.5"H x 21.5" W.
Melt N45, E06, 2015; Archival gold toned salted paper photograph; limited edition of 3; 11.5"H x 21.5" W.
Archival fiber based gelatin silver print mounted to anodized aluminum 9.31" x 13.75" each, 2012
Behind the Scenes of Supercluster Arion and Other Phenomena
MELT postcard, 2015; Salted paper photograph; 7 3/4” W x 4 1/4” H
MELT postcard, 2015; Salted paper photograph; 7 3/4” W x 4 1/4” H
MELT by DM Witman
This is part of the Maine Photo Project (mainephotoproject.org), a statewide photography collaboration in 2015.