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Tuesday, November 15, 2011

Vision To Visuals: A Moveable Feast

Painter Nicole Etienne experiments with photography and printing

This Article Features Photo Zoom
Karen Irvine, a curator with the Museum of Contemporary Photog-raphy in Chicago, says, "The moment of recognition that there is something else going on—that both attention and inattention are required to fully experience a piece—is often what gives artwork its impact.... Painting, typically best suited for still scenes, and photography, typically better at freezing movement, temporarily occupy each other's domain. The presence of both mediums, in fact, forbids either from being transparent—having to shift between the two codes, the viewer becomes acutely aware of the process of looking, of the reconciliation required between sensory and cognitive understanding. Painting and photography accomplish this union in different ways."

With brilliant application of photography and painting to express her imagination, Etienne is very simply a genre-agnostic storyteller for whom photography becomes "the first step of the story, a hazy memory or space for an event to occur."

The silver metallic canvas on which each of Nicole Etienne's photographs is printed magnifies the dreamy illusionary quality of her paintings. We printed her photographs on our six-color printer with special UV inks that make a molecular bond with the canvas material, leaving no traces of pigment or emulsion that would interrupt a painter's work. Etienne worked with the Duggal team while based in her studio in London, trusting us with the saturation, tone and color quality of the final outcome. She then painted over these "photo canvases" and stretched them onto traditional wooden frames at a size of 36x60 inches.

I've been in the visual graphics industry long enough to have seen artists push the boundaries of photography beyond realism into the illusionary—from manual airbrushing to Photoshop, artists have found inventive ways of expanding imagery beyond the mechanical reproductions of photography. It's exciting to work with painters like Etienne who are now turning to photography to invent new genres of mixed-media art—a move that I hope will put to rest the age-old debate between photography and painting.

As Rod Slemmons of the Museum of Contemporary Photography says, "What these artists (who combine photography with painting) also accomplish is to cause us to become self-conscious when looking at both photographs and paintings, and to understand that what we see in both is a flat field of elaborately but narrowly represented information that combined may lead us to truths not present in either individually."

For more information on Duggal, visit www.duggal.com or check out the new blog at www.duggal.com/connect and see their newest articles on the printing, photography and fine-art industries.


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