Anthem is the most recent installment of Doug Fogelson’s extensive Chemical Alterations series. In his work the photographer raises critical – and timely – questions about humankind’s relationship with the natural world by specifically combining the subject of nature, with the (de)construction of the photograph, to comment upon the human impact on the environment.
Fogelson’s methodology begins with photographing biologically diverse landscapes using analog film. Back in the studio, the artist subjects the processed film to a range of common industrial chemicals—draining away and altering colors in the film’s emulsion, and at times melting away the layers of dye coupler all the way to the film’s plastic base. Through this destruction salt crystals, bubbles, dust, markings and patterns come to the foreground, while the original representational portions of the photograph all but disappear.
Serene compositions become inky remnants that reflect both the complex beauty of our living planet and the environmental degradation caused by human industry.
Despite the eight photographs in the exhibition being beautifully rendered abstractions, lush and bright in colour, they remind the viewer that the debate and discussion regarding the health of the environment is an increasingly urgent topic—in terms of economy, culture, politics and survival.
Doug Fogelson’s (b. 1970) artworks have been shown in numerous exhibitions in the US, as well as internationally, including solo shows at the Goethe Institute in Chicago, SFO Museum and The Alpineum Produzentengalerie in Lucerne, Switzerland. His work is currently part of the official Bauhaus100 touring exhibition, Bauhaus and Photography–On New Visions in Contemporary Art. Notable collections holding his photographs include the MoCP, J. Paul Getty Museum, The Cleveland Clinic and Elmhurst Art Museum among others. The artist lives and works in Chicago.
— Samantha Reinders
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