Refraction features Containment, a new site-specific work originally commissioned for the FotoFocus Biennial 2018 in Cincinnati, Ohio, as well as new photographs from the Prospect and Refuge and Ink on Paper series. These various photographic projects range from architectural to sculptural to two-dimensional, each acknowledging strategies of seeing. Refraction explores the relationship between illusion and reality by exposing the deceit inherent in photographic image-making while engaging in philosophical and material play around slips in translation.
Refraction refers to the change in matter or information as it passes through one medium to another. Refraction occurs when our experience of the world is mediated through photographic images. Engman states: “We see more than we would have, and there is value in that. But the thing, person, or place that is imaged is also irrevocably changed. Photographs resemble and seem somehow in proximity to places and moments we cannot access in ways we wish we could. This produces a continuous and oblique kind of yearning for what we wish could be present or more fully understood,” resulting in a mental projection through which we fill in the gaps, add detail or meaning.
Containment is an ambitious, immersive installation that permits viewers to experience Engman’s manufactured “architectural landscape” process, which has been used to create the photographs in the Prospect and Refuge series. This constructed environment becomes a means to present a photograph that the viewer can physically enter. From a single vantage point, when looking into the room, the photo will appear as it was originally captured. Inside, or from an alternative angle, the viewer will see how the photos have been digitally stretched to provide the perspective illusion. Over three hundred individual prints were used to turn the space into the image of a stream in a forest.
However disparate the methods and formal approaches of Engman’s photographs, his themes are shared: all of the works can be thought of as meditations on the limits of the singular point of view. All of the works are invested in keeping the viewer engaged in questioning their assumptions and habits about seeing.
Chris Engman is a Los Angeles based artist.
CHRIS ENGMAN: REFRACTION
Exhibition Dates: February 16 – March 23, 2019
Opening: Saturday, February 16, 2019 from 6pm – 9pm
Luis De Jesus Los Angeles
2685 S La Cienega Blvd.
Los Angeles, CA 90034