I’ve been a big fan of Cynthia Greig, the person and the work, ever since I discovered her early series, Life Size. A Detroit photographer, Cynthia has been making work that explores the exchange of influence between perception and experience, and the photograph’s unique role in negotiating what we consider to be real or true. Cynthia received her MFA from the University of Michigan in Ann Arbor after studying art history and film making at the University of Iowa where she received her MA in 1988, and also co-founded the Tristan Tzara School of Poetry with Joyce Beatty and Todd Nelson.
Cynthia has a new exhibition opening at the DNJ Gallery in Los Angeles on May 8th that runs through July 10th that showcases her series, Representations. I’m really looking forward to seeing this series on the the gallery walls, as it has been celebrated as a runner-up for the Aperture Prize, and exhibited in solo and group shows around the country. This series is also featured in the new issue of Diffusion Magazine.
Representations explores the concept of photographic truth and its correspondence to perceived reality. As a kind of playful homage to William Henry Fox Talbot’s treatise, The Pencil of Nature, the series, combines color photography and drawing to create what I like to call photographic documents of three-dimensional drawings.
Gathering everyday objects from the recent past, I first whitewash them with ordinary house paint, and then draw directly onto their surfaces, creating visual hybrids that appear to vacillate between drawing and photography, black-and-white and color, signifier and signified. No digital manipulation is involved, but the camera’s monocular point of view is imperative. In stark contrast to Cubism’s merging of multiple perspectives, Representations exploits the limitations of a singular point of view, drawing attention to the deceptive nature of first impressions and the illusion inherent in any representation. In an age of artifice, how do we determine what is a truth or lie? How do visual conventions and style affect our perceptual expectations and influence how we see and experience the world around us? Ultimately, these images intend to examine the nature and identity of photography–our assumptions about what is or makes a photograph and its relationship to what we perceive and experience to be real and true.
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