Mariah Robertson: Photography Lovers' Peninsula

14 Feb 2015 – 2 May 2015


Los Angeles
California, United States


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M+B is pleased to announce Photography Lovers' Peninsula, Mariah Robertson's first solo exhibition with M+B. The exhibition runs from February 14 to May 2, 2015. An opening reception with performance in collaboration with Robbie McDonald will be held on Saturday, February 14 from 6 to 9 pm.

These works are made with photography chemistry directly applied to photography paper. I once described this work as an extreme end, or peninsula, of material-based photo work. Also, the installation layout looks like the outline of Florida on the floor plan of the gallery.

This work stems from some issues with authority and having been told NO about a lot of things that were clearly pointless. This is the emotional engine of a dry, analytic, simple conceptual project of inverting the vernacular binary code of YES/NO in a closed system-in this case, darkroom photography. 

Some easily summarized examples, both technical and opinion-based:

One is not supposed to use glossy paper because it is unsophisticated, bad taste, etc.

One cannot touch glossy paper with an ungloved hand because the oil from the finger will render it a damaged, invalid object.

One cannot have any dings, creases or dents in the photographic paper ("if you want to be taken seriously").

Darkroom materials are made to function only with highly controlled, tiny amounts of light. Chemistry is made to function under tightly controlled temperature conditions.

Identifying and inverting various YES or NO points in the operational flow chart led to the following experiments:

Cutting a 6x9 foot piece of glossy paper by hand with a box cutter and wadding it up into the darkroom sink and pouring very hot and very cold chemistry onto it with the overhead lights on like in a regular room.

There is no image, only a record of what has happened to each piece of paper.

Applying a similar decision making process to the framing, so that the framing is irregular and the framed pieces sit on the floor or are stacked floor to ceiling.

I look at reference jpegs of these works so often, that when I see them in person, I remember how much detail and physical presence they have. So we are building some special things in the gallery to make the most out of the experience of actually being there.

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