“A lot of people, when they come to my studio, wonder why I don’t show the things I’m building—why I photograph them instead,” muses Gorbutt. “Part of it is that most of my education has been in photography and that feels most natural to me. But more than that, the camera, for me, has such a specific point of view. The constructions I’m building aren’t super solid but, from the camera’s perspective, it looks that way—it solidifies things.”
The black-and-white photographs on view at Jacob Lewis look solid, almost sculptural; full of layers, but also flat—a duality Gorbutt revels in. “I want to emphasize the optical effect. Your brain is telling you that it’s flat, but your eyes also can perceive that it’s deep.” In Exhaust, Down Down Down Down, Up Up Up Up (2015), for instance, Snickers bars and paint drips sit on top of marbled tiles which, in turn, cover a wooden palette. But, confoundingly, it’s difficult to tell which bit is closest to the eye, or, for that matter, how Gorbutt pieces these elements together.