Luis De Jesus Los Angeles presents Los Angeles-based artist Chris Engman in his first solo exhibition titled Ink on Paper, on view until May 10, 2014.
Ink on Paper represents a temporary shift in Engman’s artistic practice from photographic documentation on environmental installation phenomena – records of processes and the passage of time – to a consideration of photographs themselves as an inherently false, mediated and distancing way to experience the world. By focusing not on outer constructions but on the photograph as a constructed challenge to perception, this new body of work continues Engman’s inquiry into the illusive and unknowable nature of reality.
In Ink on Paper, what a photograph preserves is limited: one view from one person, the third dissension of space, absent sounds, scents, and other contexts removed – all but perhaps 1/125th of a second gone. This may sound like an indictment but it isn’t; it is precisely these qualities of photography that are compelling to Engman – the paradox of seeming to have but not having.
Many of Engman’s images seem improbable but they are encoded with evidence of their veracity because in most cases they are truthful in the sense that what is pictured is the final print of what the camera saw in its last shoot. They are deceitful because all photographs are deceitful, but they are truthful because they tell the truth of their deceit.
For Engman, these works depend upon a kind of logic that tries to add up to a sense of wholeness. They are visualized expressions of ways of ordering the world – internally consistent, but at the end empty. It is the emptiness that Engman is attracted to. He states, “Logic can be beautiful even when build upon nothing at all.”
Images © of the artist and Luis de Jesus Los Angeles