TERRAINSeptember 8 - November 5
Chuck Kelton (b. 1952, New York) discovered his passion for photography at an early age, gaining a reputation as a Master Printer in New York City after studying at the Kansas City Art Institute and then earning his MFA in photography from Ohio University. Kelton has worked with Lillian Bassman, Danny Lyon and Mary Ellen Mark, amongst many other renowned photographers of the era; as well as being a virtuoso artist in his own right. His cameraless chemigrams and photograms pay homage to the photographic process, while creating a genre of his own that blurs the boundaries of photography.
TERRAIN explores the culmination of Kelton’s mastery of process, form, and color. These chemigram works, sometimes combined with elements in photogram, not only reflect the vast possibilities of Kelton’s chosen medium, but also embody the landscapes the camera traditionally captures. In his exploration of the materiality of the photographic process, Kelton also considers the reproduction of nature. His manipulation of chemicals, metals, light, and silver photographic paper mimic the creation of worlds. In these alchemical works, a cosmic landscape reveals itself; the subject and process are unmistakably intertwined.
In the 22 works introduced in this exhibition, Kelton demonstrates what the medium is capable of in the absence of the camera. Rather than capturing an image, the artist constructs it himself, challenging the relationship that photography traditionally creates between the author and subject. In this sense, this body of work both embraces and eschews tradition. Kelton gestures at aspects of reality through the inclusion of a horizon line and other terrestrial bodies, a nod to the long lineage of the landscape in photography. He relies on the technical history of the dark room, even using chemical formulas dating back to the 19th century.
For TERRAIN, Kelton reignites this disappearing analog craft by using its tools to create work independent from the camera but indebted to the photographic process. Though the landscape is utterly abstracted, the artist’s process grounds the work in a physical world. While much of the reaction between chemicals, light, and paper are up to chance, Kelton controls these interactions and as such, his compositions. TERRAIN exhibits that Kelton is not just a master of his craft, but an artist who has taken it forward into new ground.Born in New York, Chuck Kelton graduated from Kansas City Art Institute in 1975 and went on to receive an MFA in Photography from Ohio University in 1977. Chuck Kelton is a virtuoso artist creating chemigrams, an artwork involving a complex alchemy of darkroom chemicals, toners composed of precious and semi-precious metals, combined with unconventional methodologies such as the folding of the light sensitive paper itself. He is also a master of photograms, using light to create form. These techniques are combined in his unique cameraless works to evoke imagined landscapes. Through his manipulation of chemicals and light, Kelton creates worlds much like our own, however touched by ethereality and enigma. In these planetary compositions, he explores the reproduction of landscape and nature, as well as the vast possibilities of photographic printing.
526 W. 26th Street, Suite 814
New York, NY 10001
Plan your visit, contact:
+1 646 476 8409
September 8 - November 5, 2022
Tuesday - Saturday, 11 AM - 6 PM
Advance appointments are recommended
but not required.