“It's not really the shadow, I mean, it is the shadow, it's just a picture of the shadow.”
The Horticultural Society of New York is showing an exhibition of Daniel Gordon's unique still life work through to February 7th. As part of the exhibition HSNY hosted the artist for a discussion panel and showed a film, made by art21, to demonstrate Gordon's process.
The process is laborious and the result is a confusing medley of colors shapes and found images. At first glance the viewer simply writes the work off as photoshop, albeit talented photoshop, but upon learning the process the whole work takes on a new life.
Gordon essentially deals in still life, still life informed by the last 400 years of still life; flowers, lobsters, fruits and some silhouetted people. Gordon takes some of the ideas that Picasso had last century – to invert the colors of the shadows, to change the contrast of the face while keeping the same essential lines - and applies them to modern photography. All the photographs are unedited still life, they strive to be the closest representation of the subject as possible.
The subjects, however, are anything but unedited. A shadow of a tree is created by using a picture of the shadow of the tree, then coloring that picture, say, pink or green and pasting it behind the tree so the camera can capture it. The tree itself is wrapped in found images from online and the entire facade is half sculpture half 3D collage.
The talk enriched the art considerably, and it's encouraged to view the film before seeing the work; despite the artists repeated urge to take the final work as all there is.
Text by John Hutt
Photos by Lena Vassililou