Now, Vol. 23, No. 32
April 8-14, 2004
By Kevin Temple
Andrew Wright's photos challenge the power of modern technologies.
Andrew Wright at Peak Gallery (23 Morrow), to May 1. 416-537-8108. Rating: NNN
Photogrpaher Andrew Wright has turned his studio into a gigantic pinhole camera, and by doing so sheds light on the entire photographic process. He's placed an ordinary eyeglass lens in his skylight and aimed the picture directly onto 1.2-by-2.4-metre sheets of photographic paper. The stunning negative images, developed by hand, are a beautiful mix of mist, sky and light.
His crude method, which began with him waiting outside his studio and dashing in whenever a good frame appears, purposely creates imperfections in the works. The poor-quality lens is soft, and a number of the prints have acquired strange horizontal lines, but the scars resulting from the DIY approach only add to the appeal.
Wright's show is a meditation on modern photographic technology that's able to remove all traces of the process from the picture. Now automated cameras can eliminate the photographer entirely. By controlling his own process – in effect, avoiding its mechanization – Wright draws attention to the act of mediated representation.
He's not the first to shoot clouds or build cameras, but the combination of these two activities in the context of the artist's preoccupations makes this a smart show.
If Wright's critique of technological consumption doesn't do it for you, you can always check out his cloud formations for ducks and bunnies. Andrew Wright's low-fi technique makes a big statement.