Northern California-based photographer Robert Buelteman has been making photo-based images since 1974, though much of the work in his portfolio was made without a camera (or a computer). Instead, his tools resemble those of a mad scientist—jumper cables, liquid silicone, Plexiglass, plants, fiber optics and thousands of volts of electricity.
“Life and Shadow, ” an exhibition of Buelteman’s photograms at the Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, includes works from the last fifteen years, and is intended to be a survey of his experiments with fiber optics. It is also a celebration of Buelteman’s return to his craft after a battle with disease.
“The title of the exhibition is a nod to both the substance of the imagery as well as to my development of a life-changing disability—Neuroborreliosis (Central Nervous System Lyme Disease)—that has become an integral part of my art making,” Buelteman writes. “First diagnosed in 2007, it has taken me eight years to emerge from the shadow of this disease to present works both new and old.”
“Having passed this dreadful disease to my beloved wife as the result of being diagnosed too late, we both find that the life we had before is over. While the core values of my art remain true, their aesthetics are now conditioned by our loss of health and an ensuing wisdom borne of aging and decline.”
“Robert Buelteman: Life and Shadow” runs through July 25, 2015 at Gerald Peters Gallery in Santa Fe, New Mexico. Signs of Life, a book of Buetelman’s work released in 2009, is also available. For more on Buelteman, please visit his website.