Image via Yossi Milo Gallery
Far too often people limit their imaginations to what is conventional.That’s why the art world is so wonderful – thinking about new ways to solve and create is expected. Cyanotypes are a perfect example in photography. Historically used for low cost blueprints for engineers, the experiments of photographer Meghann Riepenhoff are anything but the norm.
Works from Riepenhoff’s series, Littoral Drift (2013–ongoing), are large-scale dynamic cyanotypes made in collaboration with the landscape. Rather than photographing a scene with film and camera, the artist takes direct imprints from nature. After coating sheets of paper with homemade cyanotype emulsion, she exposes them to the elements, partially submerging them in ocean waves, draping them over a tree branch during a rainstorm or burying them in snow pack. Water, sunlight and sediments, such as sand, salt, detritus and impurities, activate the photosensitive chemicals to create fluid, painterly abstractions of the landscape in Prussian blue or white. The prints’ titles indicate the location, date and conditions under which they were made, anchoring each in a specific moment in time and underscoring the performative aspect of the series.
Riepenhoff only partially fixes her cyanotypes, leaving residual photosensitive chemistry to react to light and the environment. A print’s colors may fluctuate in intensity or salt crystals may bloom on the surface of the paper, subtly changing the artwork over time. The shifting qualities of these “living” prints are both a desirable aesthetic outcome and reflect themes of impermanence, time and mutability that are consistent throughout Riepenhoff’s work.
Meghann Riepenhoff’s work has been presented in exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN; University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA; Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo Center Northwest, Seattle, WA; Aperture Foundation, New York, NY; and Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX, among others. Riepenhoff earned her BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia, Athens, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. The artist was born in 1979 in Atlanta, GA, and currently divides her time between Bainbridge Island, WA, and San Francisco, CA.
Littoral Drift is now open for view until April 29, 2017.
For More Information: Yossi Milo Gallery