If But a Sunbeam Strikes Too Warm, an exhibition of 4 women making “post photography,” pulls apart humanity’s continuing urge to capture and contain.
The term “post photography” has been rattling around since the early days of the “blogosphere.” It spiked in the early to mid 2000s, a recharged attention to photography’s alchemical possibilities (and limitations), high on digital and other forms of manipulation, which became the fuel for many conceptually leaning photographers. Think Lucas Blalock, Kate Steciw, early Talia Chetrit, and pretty much everyone in Charlotte Cotton’s comprehensive 2015 anthology Photography Is Magic.
While this may seem like a flash in photo history for some, it has continued to push the medium’s ability to reimagine nature and its relationship to art and representation. If but a sunbeam strikes too warm, an exhibition at Portland, Oregon’s Melanie Flood Projects through early December keeps this discussion current with the work of Teresa Christiansen, Kate Steciw, Anne Hall, and Sarah Meadows. These photo-based artists use various manipulative – some analog, some digital, some a combination of both – techniques to alter how we gaze at nature and understand our stake in it. In a time in which incessant wildfires, environmental degradation and climate change-denial have run amok, this exhibition offers a critical and refreshing voice.
I spoke with curator Melanie Flood to learn more.
Jon Feinstein in conversation with Melanie Flood