Alibis are proofs of presence. We lead parsed lives. We are in one place, and not another. We believe and feel one way, and not another. And, we look at experience through one construction, and not another. The record of the visual choices to create certainty in a contingent world are the alibis of our lives.
The linked triplets across the four complementary chapters of alibis nod to two masters and better craftsmen by presenting an “extended visual statement” (Nathan Lyons) and by practicing “condensation to maximum attainable” (Ezra Pound).
Like the B-roll in a noir film, understudies establish a context, an overall atmosphere, for actions in the foreground. In the absence of those actions, these images step into an enigmatic leading role and assert their own presence.
After the parade of experience has passed, gleanings mark the unintended residue of its passage, and the intended legacy of its presence. Image upon image, meaning slowly coheres.
The figure emerges or returns to announce its presence against an undefined ground through its postcards from here. Not all we portray about ourselves is true. Yet there is truth.
We can mark where we have been and where we are. The moments when we anticipate our future presence through these marks are our endings first seen. We cannot portray the proofs of our future. We can imagine only that we looked and the future ended.
you will see things that, in my telling,
would seem to strip my words of truth.
Dante Alighieri, The Inferno, Canto XIII, 1320
and that certain images be formed in the mind…
to remain there, resurgent
Ezra Pound, The Cantos, Canto LXXIV, 1944
These diptychs are found images in vintage photographs that I re-edit and place in dialogues. The parings start from the assumption that photography is a tool for visual thinking, then ask us to think about these questions:
Appropriation: What are the boundaries for “taking” a picture? Are my visual experiences limited to the camera in front of my eyes and the creation of a new image, or are they equally defined by my appropriation of an existing image and the adding to it of new visual meaning? What is the boundary between public and private history, and the appropriation and manipulation of each?
Memory: While there might be consistency in how images are made, and cohesion in how images are exhibited, how are images linked in memory? What is the difference between the visual truths we immediately experience, and the explanatory lies we subsequently fabricate? Since we are deluged with exponentially more visual images than we could ever shoot personally, how do we mentally curate (retain, retrieve, and reframe) all of this visual information in a process that creates both complementary and dissonant dialogues between images?
Mortality: How will we ourselves – our quotidian lives and the images we create – be appropriated and remembered by others decades from now? Anyone regarding vintage photographs has the somber knowledge that virtually all of the people in those photographs are deceased. The challenge for an artist is how to transform this knowledge of mortality into visual images that extend the long tradition of memento mori
Lies explores the boundary between observation and memory. The diptychs in this project depict how observation gives way to memory, how truth and fiction merge, and how our experiences gain a new meaning through our reimagining. Like memory, intention gives way to intrusion, and so the sequencing of these photos is random.