Honor Fraser is pleased to present Past Forward: Marking Time in Recent Photography, an installation of works by Angela Strassheim and Chris McCaw, curated by Marcelle Polednik. The works of Chris McCaw are presented in collaboration with Duncan Miller Gallery, Los Angeles.
Chris McCaw’s recent series of unique gelatin silver prints, entitled Sunburn, extends the temporal and physical confines of the photograph’s indexical function. The photographs capture the landscape of the American West, marked by the movement of the sun across the sky. However, rather than depicting scenic views of the landscape bathed in sunlight, McCaw’s penumbral prints trace the changing position of the sun by a series of physical transformations of the photographs’ paper support. Aided by the use of vintage, fiber-based gelatin silver papers and military aerial reconnaissance lenses, McCaw subjects the prints to extensive, hours-long exposure times. Rather than documenting the sun’s momentary, fixed positions, the photographs are steeped in a continuum of gradually-shifting light. The process results in two dramatic transformations. First, the prints undergo a complete reversal of tonalities—a literal solarization process—that causes the unique paper prints to look like positives. Secondly, the focus of the light from the sun during the hours of exposure actually burns through the paper, creating a variety of incisions that correspond to the sun’s movement through the sky. The expansive time (and place) of McCaw’s photographs overflows the confines of the photographic image. Over time, the sun’s mark forms an indexical trace that pierces through the photograph, cuts across the image and irrevocably alters the physical confines of the print.
Chris McCaw holds a BFA in Photography from the San Francisco Academy of Art. He has been included in a number of group exhibitions, including recent installations at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London as well as the Metropolitan Museum of Art, New York. McCaw lives and works in San Francisco.
Angela Strassheim’s photographs separate and juxtapose distinct moments in time—most recently, chapters in the history of domestic architecture. For her Evidence series, Strassheim applied her training as a forensic crime scene photographer to uncover traces of violent crimes committed in homes around the United States. Approaching the present owners and occupants of apartments and houses where, years prior, murder and violence had occurred, Strassheim gained permission to photograph the interiors. With the aid of a chemical known as “Blue Star,” capable of revealing the residue of organic matter that persists years after the gruesome events that took place, Strassheim’s photographs capture the mundane, residential spaces she visited, covered with the amorphous, spectral spills and stains revealed by the chemical. The evidence of the residual presence of the past violence on the walls, doors and windows of these interiors intermingles with the furnishings and decorations of the present owners—two distinct periods of time converging in the photographic frame.
Angela Strassheim earned an MFA in Photography from Yale University and a certificate in Forensic and Biomedical Photography from the Metro-Dade County Forensic Imaging Bureau in Miami. Her first solo exhibition was held at the Monterey Museum of Art in 2008. Recently, her works have been included in group exhibition at the Israel Museum, Jerusalem, the Yale School of Architecture and the National Museum of Women in the Arts, Washington, DC. Strassheim lives and works in New York City.
Marcelle Polednik is Chief Curator at the Monterey Museum of Art in Monterey, California. Prior to her present appointment, she served as Assistant Curator at the Whitney Museum of American Art. Polednik holds a Doctorate from the Institute of Fine Arts, New York University. Her dissertation, History in the Making: Sigmar Polke and Photography, investigated the relationship of photography to questions of history, documentation and duration in the works of this seminal postwar German artist.