Deciduous bas_jan.jpg

Deciduous (homages)


Deciduous (after Bas Jan Ader)

Wet clay, body. 2015.

Bas Jan Ader was an artist capable of communicating incredible poetic strength through simple actions. He is often remembered for his "Fall" series, short films in which he fell from a rooftop, rode his bicycle into a canal and dropped from a tree. Ader said, “I do not make body sculpture, body art or body works. When I fell off the roof of my house or into a canal, it was because gravity made itself master over me.” His falls can range from personal failure to symbols of philosophical inquiry. (Brad Spence, The Case of Bas Jan Ader)

I also wish to focus the meaning of my work on larger forces which act upon all of us. I use my body as an instrument: to measure an experience physically. In my homage to Ader, I fell onto a thick slab of wet clay, leaving an impression. The fall of leaves and seasons is made human, a connection forged under gravity. The heavy print is made at the end of a short flight, only really known to the body in motion. I fell, like Ader, to know how it feels.


Deciduous (After Anna Atkins)

Leaves, adhesive, cyanotype, hand, sunlight. 2015.

Anna Atkins published a book titled Photographs of British Algae in 1843. The images are ghostly white floating on a deep saturated blue cyanotype, recording algaeic forms from her field studies.

In Deciduous (After Anna Atkins), I use the same cyanotype chemistry, but reverse the imagery. The foliage here becomes the background, the last disintegrating leaves of autumn unevenly accepting the light sensitive fluid into their cracks. By holding my hand over the leaves, the December sunlight slowly creates the deep blue halo. This is not a scientific document, this is an exploration of how to leave a rich mark. A simple handprint recording body, form, sunlight, time onto a fleeting group of leaves. The other leaves in the forest, the low, cold sunset, the presence of my hand, and Anna are all gone, but the sun-burned blue has provided a record to these fleeting experiences, for the time being.