Pictura Gallery

Adam Thorman & Laura Plageman

Adam Thorman | What Light Remains in the Absence

Laura Plageman | Response

Adam Thorman is a photographer, artist, and educator who lives and works in Oakland, California. He received his BFA from Tisch School of the Arts at New York University and his MFA from Arizona State University. His work focuses on how we perceive our surroundings by playing with scale and highlighting ambiguities in the form and function of his subjects. His subjects have included the exposed intertidal zone, light events, people in the landscape, interior still lives and urban waterways. His photographs and artist’s books have been nationally exhibited at various venues including Sam Lee Gallery in Los Angeles and the Center for Creative Photography in Tucson, AZ. His work is in the permanent collection at San Francisco Museum of Modern Art. Currently, Thorman teaches photography at The Athenian School in Danville, CA and is co-founder of LOOP Arts, a new non-profit arts organization in the San Francisco Bay Area.

What Light Remains in the Absence | Artist Statement

Upon moving to Phoenix in 2006, my relationship with light changed. What had previously been solely an agent of sight became a presence I could physically feel. Waking up to the sun beating through cracked blinds gave me the sensation that the light had actually pushed them open. Through the oppressive summer sun I became aware of light as a medium. These photographs reflect this understanding. I am fascinated by water, but the reasons why are not always obvious to me. I like visual complexity in images and there is a natural layering of information that occurs with water. When photographing it, you have the surface and what’s beneath it at the same time. During the day, the light reflects on the surface, turning it into a protective shell hiding what’s beneath. At dusk, the surface opens up. This all provides room to play. I also love to see the remnants water leaves on the land after it’s gone: high water marks, an algae line on rocks in a drought-lowered lake, and the ways creatures in the intertidal zone hold moisture to survive above water. When light and water are combined in the right way, I experience something wholly unexpected and wonderful. I don’t know why the sunset light cutting through cresting waves moves me, but it does every time.

Laura Plageman is an artist and educator who lives and works in Oakland, California. Her images explore the relationships between the process of image making, photographic truth and distortion, and the representation of landscape. She is interested in making pictures that examine the natural world as a scene of mystery, beauty and constant change—transformed both by human presence and by its own design. Plageman has exhibited her work in the San Francisco Bay Area, New York, Los Angeles, Portland, Seattle and Galway, Ireland. She earned a BA at Wesleyan University (Middletown, CT) and an MFA from the California College of the Arts (San Francisco, CA). She was the Ne Plus Ultra winner of the Jen Bekman Gallery’s 2011 Hey, Hot Shot! competition. More images by Laura Plageman can be found at www.photolp.com.

Response | Artist Statement

In this series, I am responding to photographs as both representations and tangible objects. Through physically altering enlarged prints and then re-photographing the results, I create works that oscillate between image and object, photography and sculpture, landscape and still life. While they may appear illusory, the resulting pictures are documents of actual events and are thus as authentic as the original representational images contained within. My process unfolds through observation and experimentation – I let the image and its materiality dictate its direction. Playing with paper and with light in unplanned and organic ways, I look for new ways to perceive the space, form, and context of my subjects. In some works, large pieces of the original image are torn out while in others, smaller parts are more subtly altered. I use a large format view camera throughout my process so I can control perspective and record as much detail as possible. Whether focused on a ripped paper edge or a nesting bird, I hope to reach a place where picture elements interact and merge in unpredictable and expressive ways.

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