D a n M c C o r m a c k
The work in this exhibition by Dan McCormack not only harkens back to the past but explores new advances which this past century has brought to the medium of photography. McCormack proves through these pinhole images of the female body that this medium can no longer be considered the poor cousin of the art world. Rather, photography under this artist's watchful eye is now on the same level as easel painting and the other "fine arts" which have a longer and more illustrious history.
Viewing these images makes it impossible for those who feel that photography is a "craft" rather than an "art" to continue to hold such beliefs. Besides being photographs, Dan McCormack's images can certainly be considered a form of painting on the highest level. Yet, instead of the paint brush, the artist uses some of the technological advances that our modern world has given us to fill his "canvases".
The images of the female form, which McCormack so beautifully captures, are both mysterious and electrifying The power in these works comes not only from the masterful handling of the medium but also from their commanding sense of presence. Not only are these images evocative in the broadest sense of the word, but they also appear as lyrical statements. The gracious curves of each body are as harmonious as a grand opera or a symphony. They ebb and flow as a crescendo causing the viewer to sit up and take notice.
Viewed as a whole, these works can be likened to Pablo Picasso's powerful, distorted nudes. Yet this is where the similarity ends for McCormack takes these twisted and elongated forms and injects them with a dose of 21st century color. The vibrancy of the work is a tribute not only to modern technology but more importantly to the gifted eye of the artist. The lesson to be learned by viewing these photographs is that form, function, and color, used in the proper way, are tools that allow a talented artist to create masterpieces. McCormack's images are truly masterpieces.
Twentieth century photographer Andre Kertesz once commented "...anyone can make a photograph of the human body. It is the sign of a true artist when he can infuse the ordinary figure with a special sense of wonder." How true this is of Dan McCormack's work! He takes the literal and allows us, the viewers, to be transported to worlds without boundaries. The female nude is no longer just a nude female but a supple and allusive form bordering on the poetic and the profound.
While pinhole images have enjoyed a long and illustrious history, McCormack's images, made by using this simple and direct method, are far from being simplistic. His female nudes gyrate with energy. They sing to us sweet arias. They challenge our perception of how the human body should look. Yet, more importantly, they transport us to a dream-like environment where anything and everything is possible. In the stillness of these delicate images there is a powerful voice calling out. As viewers we must stop and listen for it is only then that the true meaning of each work rises to the surface.
Samuel Dorsky Museum of Art
State University of New York - New Paltz
Exhibit designed by Gregg Kemp for Pinhole Visions ( 17,319 Guests)
SING THE BODY ELECTRIC
Photography by Dan McCormack
Wilson Street Gallery Exhibition Review by Louise Thompson
On display at the Wilson Street Gallery this week are the surreal, futurist images by Dan McCormack. With a similarity to image transfers, McCormack's works arrest the eye with their unfinished, grungy appearance. An invisible string threads the viewer through the eccentricity of his mind apparent in each inkjet print; and with their surface beauty, one is lured with the temptation to touch.
Raking the sands of technology, he has taken the granules of time, integrating them to produce fascinating, innovative compositions. In combining one of the earliest photographic techniques with the latest technology, he has extended the photographic pinhole process in intriguing ways while keeping consistency well under par. Both process and content weave through time, bringing history and the present to a surface climax.
In exploring the naked form, he has portrayed nudity in a shameless open way; and rather than touching on suggestive issues, he has revealed the comfortable, confident stance of his models. The women make no issue of shyness, 'Maia' stands directly in front of a blackboard which reads her repeated detention lines, "I will not come to class naked", whereas 'Lupe' appears wearing nothing but knee-high boots, reflecting the childhood fun of dressing up.
Void of frames, the works swell with diverse artistic expression, each holding an individual meaning. In portraying the nudes in different contexts, his use of locations varies, ranging from metropolitan and interior views, to the raw traditional landscape. Some works hold a futurist appeal with their extremely vibrant, electric colours, while others follow a more traditional style with the use of subtle, muted hues.
From start to finish, in their intricate creation, these are works which have been produced and reproduced, starting as one medium then becoming another. With great skill, McCormack has brought his exquisite imagery to our attention, reminding us to embrace what technology has given us, yet respect what was there in its absence. In both a material and philosophical sense, his use of these mediums is that of a master, a powerful impressive collection that long lingers in the mind.
© Louise Thompson.