In a photo lab far, far away…
Ottawa-based artist Dante Penman takes the traditional process of the photogram, and completely turns it around. With a bit of chemical manipulation, his photograms become chemigrams, a process invented in 1956 by Pierre Cordier. What this entails, is that the developing chemicals are not placed evenly on the photopaper. It is the Abstract Expressionism of photography (a connection which Penman made in his artists’ statement). Instead of just painting with developer, Penman adds three-dimensional botanical aspects, such as fern leaves, to mimic the effects of light from pictures in space.
Chemistry, botany and astronomy all play pivotal roles in his work.
Some of his works are even inspired by Science Fiction, the images alluding to lost worlds and alien wildlife. Not only does the viewer become lost in the multi-layers of leaves, debris and chemicals, but they can also become lost in the image, wondering how the artist put it together. The chemistry in it is like magic, and the images will surely put you under their spell.
If you would like to see these chemigrams for yourself, Dante Penman’s work is currently on display at Bubblicity, 730 Somerset St. W., as part of Chinatown Remixed, until the 18th of June.