Taking Flight




My 2009 solo show, Flight Patterns, is current up at Irvine Contemporary in Washington D.C.  The opening was Oct 30th and well attended by friends and art lovers enticed by the Washington Post calling Flight Patterns the opening of the week.  The following description is by Irvine Contemporary:


Phil Nesmith: Flight Patterns
New Photograms

Phil Nesmith’s Flight Patterns is a series of new dryplate photograms created with silver nitrate emulsion on black glass plates. This is Phil Nesmith’s second solo exhibition with Irvine Contemporary

Phil Nesmith’s photograms are innovative images created directly on photosensitive black glass plates without a camera or lens. By re-appropriating one of the earliest photo-graphic processes, Nesmith continues his ongoing exploration of the effects of light and shadows and the memory images created by a brief moment of exposure on sliver nitrate emulsion.

Nesmith’s new series of images evoke allegories of flight, fragility, evanescence, materiality, and time. Because photograms require the presence of an actual object to cast shadows or allow light to penetrate through a translucent material, the resulting image records a moment in time when something interrupted light and space on the photosensitive medium, but without a camera lens.

Nesmith’s haunting compositions present fictional of worlds of flying creatures fixed in a moment we feel as both present and lost, timeless and absent, a memory of an imaginary moment created entirely by the play of light on material forms. Photograms of creatures of flight and short life-spans become fitting allegories of transience, life and time as a series of fleeting moments.

Phil Nesmith is engaging in a fascinating and important dialog with artists and photo-graphers who use hybrid and lensless photo images for conceptual ends, a project that extends back to Man Ray and earliest photography. In the past decade, Chuck Close, Adam Fuss, and Sally Mann have re-appropriated early photographic methods for their images, and Wolfgang Tillmans has created several series of abstract, cameraless images made with controlled, direct exposures on photo paper. Phil Nesmith’s photograms play with our expectations about photographic images and our desire to fix and objectify a moment in time, the sense of real things leaving a trace in the realm of imaginary fictions.




©2009 Laura Kicey

The show is up until December 12th so there is plenty of time to make plans to see this great body of work.  On November 12th I will be giving a gallery talk and demo about some of the processes I use and about the Flight Patterns work.  If you could not make it to the opening, the talk during FotoWeek DC 2009 at Irvine Contemporary would be a great time to see the work and ask me questions.


~ by Phil Nesmith on November 3, 2009.

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