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LIGHT + METAL: Julie Weber on the Permutations of Light


photo-eye Gallery LIGHT + METAL:
Julie Weber on the Permutations of Light
Appearing for the first time at photo-eye Gallery in LIGHT + METAL, Julie Weber is a conceptual visual artist primarily focused on revealing the physicality of photographic objects by examining "how materials can image themselves by depicting their own process." We are excited to have two works from Weber's series Permutations of Light on view in the exhibition.

Julie Weber's Permutations of Light Installed at photo-eye Gallery

Appearing for the first time at photo-eye Gallery in LIGHT + METAL, Julie Weber is a conceptual visual artist primarily focused on revealing the physicality of photographic objects by examining "how materials can image themselves by depicting their own process."  We are excited to have two works from Weber's series Permutations of Light on view in the exhibition.

Presented in diptychs, Weber's artworks are tonally patterned cameraless images contact printed in the darkroom. Each image in the pair is created by exposing the same original source material onto matching sheets of identically sized photographic paper. The print experience diverges as one version is further developed and printed using the traditional process while the other is left latent, undeveloped, and permitted to change overtime as it is continually exposed by ambient light within the room.

Weber “considers the photograph as an object of direct experience; one that it is responsive to its environment and concerned with process rather than permanence." She adds, "I conceptualize the surface of photographic paper as a physical site where the intangible elements of light and time can be made visible and exist in a variety of states – sometimes static, other times changing, or a combination thereof.”

Speaking with Weber about her works in LIGHT + METAL we asked her to share more about her practice, the creation of unique objects, and her obsession with physicality. LIGHT + METAL remains on view through this Saturday, September 22nd, 2018.

Julie Weber, Two Permutations of Light (Forte Fortezo G4 FB), 2018, photogram diptych on gelatin silver paper 
(print 1 fixed; print 2 unfixed), 14x11" Images$1500

photo-eye:      What inspired you to create the pieces that are included in LIGHT + METAL?

Julie Weber:      I think photography is popularly thought of as synonymous with representational imagery, but I’ve always been more curious about the materialization of images, how they exist as physical objects, and all the technical execution behind their creation. I work mostly without a camera, though not exclusively, as a means to circumvent the customary dialogue around image that dominates the medium. In all my work, I strive to pull material and process to the fore so that they become subject matter. I’m often thinking about how materials can image themselves by depicting their own process.

Julie Weber gradation test strips
My work with light-sensitive material came from a progressive desire to understand the photograph more as an object of direct experience and less as an image of documentation. Photography is fundamentally a matter of light and time and with Permutations of Light, I’m trying to depict that as directly as possible – to show photographic paper as a physical site where light and time are experienced. These works embrace and intensify the ephemeral nature of photographs. They are about durational observation and the accumulation of history through the lighting conditions of the spaces where they are displayed.


pe:      Why did you choose the specific process or materials you used?

JW:     I think light sensitive emulsion is a remarkable technology in and of itself, which has led me deeper and deeper into researching sensitometry: the study and measurement of the response of photographic materials to light and to processing conditions. To make these works, I study the photographic papers I use in order to learn the possibilities they can yield. With this information I create gradational compositions in systematic ways that nod to sensitometric methods like the step wedge and test strip.

The idea behind these works as diptychs is about contrasting variations. One print is chemically fixed and static in grayscale and the other print is left unfixed and thus changeable in color. I consider them as parallel counterparts – the coexistence of two possible outcomes.

Julie Weber, Two Permutations of Light (Ilford Multigrade FB), 2018, photogram diptych on gelatin silver paper 
(print 1 fixed; print 2 unfixed, 14x11" Images, $1500

pe:     What type of work did you make prior to the work you are making today? 

Julie Weber, Processing in the Darkroom
JW:     My prior work has focused more on the presence of time through context, trace, intervention, and alteration of found imagery. For instance, in Undisclosed Typologies, I specifically sought out photographs that had been initially made to function more as clerical documents than aesthetic objects. By removing the sections of emulsion that depicted the main subject matter, I drew attention to the materiality of the print and reversed the positive and negative relationship between subject matter and background.

More recently I’ve been working with a film-like material that is the byproduct from the dye-sublimation printer at the photo lab where I worked years ago. Last September, Skylark Editions published REMNANTS, a limited edition artist book of images I made by cutting, layering, and folding this material into new configurations. The images illustrate the CMY color model and obscure the degree of visibility of the original image. I am continuing to work with this material, making both color pigment prints and gelatin silver (black and white) photograms.

pe:     Why are you making unique works, and is the fact they are unique important to you?

JW:      I think it’s important so far as the process yields a unique output. With Permutations of Light, the experience of the work responding to its environment is integral to the concept behind the series and necessitates that the works are one-of-a-kind. Across my practice, I definitely gravitate towards making unique works but it isn’t always the case. I don’t feel obligated or see it as a rule.

pe:     Who are your influences?

JW:     This is forever expanding but on the mind lately… Patti Smith for her candor and charm. Bridget Riley for her optical vision and meticulous studies. Carmen Herrera for her creative routine and dedication. Carlo Rovelli and Sean Carroll for their mind-bending redefinitions of time. László Moholy-Nagy for his photographic experimentation and ideology. Liz Deschenes and Sara VanDerBeek for advancing photography into new theoretical territory.

Julie Weber

Julie Weber completed her MFA in Photography from Columbia College Chicago (2014). Weber is a FOTOFILMIC18 shortlist photographer and finalist for an upcoming traveling exhibition to San Francisco, Seoul, and Vancouver.  Her limited-edition artist book, REMNANTS, was published by Skylark Editions (2017) and was selected by the Lucie Foundation for the Month of Photography Los Angeles Photo Book Exhibition (2018). Weber has exhibited at venues including Bert Green Fine Art, Silver Eye Center for Photography, Chicago Artists Coalition, Hyde Park Art Center, Dominican University, and Milwaukee Institute of Art & Design. Weber was an artist-in-residence at the Chicago Artists Coalition (2015). The Hand Magazine, Papersafe, and ArtAscent have featured Weber’s work in printed publications.



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LIGHT + METAL has been extended at photo-eye Gallery 
through this Saturday, September 22nd, 2018. 

For additional information on Julie Weber's work, 
and to purchase prints, please contact Gallery Staff at 
505-988-5152 x202 or gallery@photoeye.com.




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