Location: Appleton, WI, United States
This collaborative body of work represents an ongoing investigation of art history and process by photo-based artists Lauren Semivan and John Shimon. The six to seven and a half foot high photograms were created as bodies lay on hand-sensitized archival paper, which is exposed by the sun in an outdoor setting. The resulting cyanotype prints are washed with a garden hose in an oversized wooden tray beneath a tree, and hung up to dry. Often the prints are toned and bleached using a combination of strong black tea and washing soda. This primitive art making process, in dialogue with the landscape of a small northeast Wisconsin farm, allows for a graceful embrace of the organic and unknown.
Inspired by Robert Rauschenberg and Susan Weil’s Blueprints created between 1949 and 1951, Tangency stretches across time, space, and worldly dimensions. Visual associations are made to early cave paintings, the 19th century botanical photograms of Anna Atkins, Yves Klein's Anthropometries, Bruce Conner's Angels, the Shroud of Turin, and architectural blueprints. The imprint of the human form on the paper is ghostly and translucent.
This body of work represents a physical immersion in the process of making art while entering into a dialog with time, space, and human experience situated within a continuum of ideas and people. Tangency; in geometry it is the point at which the line intersects the circle, and the flatness of the paper as it intersects organic form. Within each photogram, the body is rendered simply and objectively, yet it manifests inherent contradictions. It is fragile yet concrete, vulnerable, embarrassing, sensuous, perfect, ugly, repellent, outrageous, universal, mysterious, known. Traces of physical presence with and without intent; trace as monument.