When I look into the night sky I am awestruck by the darkness that is the universe. As the sparse light of the stars descends, I am entangled in a state of wonder, searching for a better understanding of who I am and where I fit in to this world. Carl Sagan wrote, “…the universe is mainly made of nothing, something is the exception. Nothing is the rule. That darkness is commonplace; it is light that is the rarity.” This sense of wonder cast by light in the otherwise impenetrable darkness is a driving force behind this current work.
The images in this series meditate on the dual nature of creation and destruction. They are created outdoors at night by igniting a small portion of gunpowder on the surface of silver gelatin paper. In the resulting explosion, light and energy abrade and burn the surface while simultaneously exposing the light-sensitive silver emulsion. I loosely control the explosion by placing objects I have gathered in the field on the paper’s surface, but the results are often surprising and unpredictable as the explosive energy of gunpowder is the true generative force creating the image. I believe that by working in these ways, the images push the material and symbolic limitations of the medium. The images are the residue of both creation and obliteration, generated from a single spark.