Opening reception: Saturday, November 12, 6 – 8 pm
November 12, 2011 – January 8, 2012
For immediate release
Rawson Projects is pleased to announce an exhibition of new works by Lyndsy Welgos entitled Panels: 2010-2011.
Welgos received her BFA from Atlanta College of Art in 2005. Since then she has exhibited widely, most recently in a group exhibition curated by Scott Hug entitled Take-Out at Andrew Edlin Gallery. Her work has also been featured in the New Yorker and The New York Times this year. A conversation between the gallery and the artist about her work follows.
Rawson Projects: First, perhaps you could discuss a little bit about how these two bodies of work are made? Specifically, could you discuss the common element of the gradient in both the Panels and the Spilling Circles? What is the specific significance of this process? Why did you choose to produce the image instead of taking a photograph of an object?
Lyndsy Welgos: I guess that would be kind of like discussing the common element of paint on two sets of serial painting. I use what is at hand to make works with materials that are available.
But I do question a lot of elements about photography, which led me to make these works.
RP: In discussions about your work, we ended up talking about this notion of time in photography, and how it can be problematic. Can you discuss this further, and how your artistic process attempts to address (or avoid) these issues?
LW: In photography, you have a medium that was looking for relevance in the contemporary art world during the boom of the 1970s and 1980s, and I think Heidegger’s Being and Time (1962) was right at hand. Art historically, it was thought that photography was the only medium that held time (in the negative), and this idea became a huge part of photo identity. But what if the negative didn’t hold that time? The viewer completes the work anyway, in a Duchampian critique, all artworks hold time in that sense. The negative is just an imprint of the visual spectrum. I don’t believe in the notion of photography owning time. I don’t even think it’s interesting. My work is an attempt to avoid all these previously implied notions of what photography is or might be. As I have said before, I use it as a material only and not a way to document an event. However, I do still think of them as photo-constructs. Just ones that interact differently with each human body they come in contact with.
RP: Further to this discussion, you recommended I read Francois Lauruelle’s The Concept of Non-Photography (2011). In his first essay, Lauruelle relates the photographic process as a moment that defies decision or subjectivity. In other words, he specifically rejects photography as a philosophical or ontological enterprise. In his view, "the specific 'object', the proprium of photography, can be found in the body and in photo, in the process that goes from one to the other; not in the World." Perhaps you can explain your interest in this concept, and how it relates to your own work?
LW: Lauruelle has a philosophical agenda that my work doesn’t necessarily have. But I find his direction that "a good description of photography necessitates that one treats it as an essence unto itself not as an event either of the World or of philosophy" astute. I guess you could say that what the viewers experience when they approach the Panels is where the photograph actually happens within that collapsed present.
RP: These works do seem to take on a life completely different from that of an "image." Especially with the Panels, the reflective surface seems to have the effect of inverting the traditional relationship of a viewer and the work. Instead of the viewer looking at them, the artwork mimics the architecture of the space with the viewer caught somewhere in-between. Was this intentional?
LW: I don’t know if they fall into the category of "image" or not. This word has always been problematic. The "image" in this work is more of a material in a way, so I’m not sure if this counts or not. They do seem to invert the traditional experience of the viewer and the artwork. There is a great article by Rosalind Krauss called "Video: The Aesthetics of Narcissism" (1976). I think some of the same ideas can be found there, even though these are photo-constructs and not a time-based medium like video.