Dysmorphologies

Epidermal Interventions

Working with the computer, 8 x 10 cameras, 4 x 5 Cameras, Microscope Cameras, 35 mm cameras, and a variety of other photographic and digital processes these photographic images nevertheless allude to painting and drawing.  This challenging conception seeks to recognize the actual drawing process which is so integral to digital manipulations.  The pencil tip is replaced with the cursor, the paper replaced by skin. Each line is blended, integrated into a tightly bound composition where photographic and digitally constructed images blend seamlessly, at times, drawing ones attention to those linear elements in nature - a hair, a wrinkle. At others, the images are held together by the delicate tracery of the human hand, lines transformed to skin, even rashes become nothing more than color to be manipulated on a color field of human skin.

Initially all the skin and exfoliate materials were my own, however, increasingly I have begun to combine, graft, or simply include, the skin, nails or hair, of other models. Found through local ads, word of mouth, a wide range of people have all found their way before my lens.  Familiar traces of the individual are all but but erased, transformed. In this body of work one no longer sees the body as a schematic marker of similitude, difference, age, gender, race, illness, or health.

The play of technology in this work has been positioned as an unapologetic critique of the limitations of much earlier photographic theory, which reduced photography to debates of indexicality, documentation, process and a range of other formalist debates. While historically significant and infinitely useful for analyzing photographic images, one must nevertheless recognize that digital technology has presented as much of a challenge to how we define photography as any theoretical text. Epidermal Intervention , as a body of works, employ a variety of mechanical and technical tools in order to achieve their particular aesthetic. Drawing from formalist painting traditions, this body of work explores a whole range of manipulations, some overt -others discrete, and yet throughout one finds images of skin transformed. Hairs become lines, blemishes become the color fields of the body. Employing the modernist devices of the grid, collage, incongruous combination, use of scale, along with the uncanny, and curious unfamiliarity, of these everyday images. Cumulatively, it is hoped that these works will be recognized as more than the familiar critique of modernism, or postmodernism for that matter, and draw ones attention to that semi-permeable history -we call modernism, and whose aesthetic claims, thought continually modified, continue to resonate for artists and viewers alike.

Ken Gonzales-Day

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