Doty/Glasco’s Photographic Sculptures Turn Geology into Psyschedelia

Los Angeles-based duo Doty/Glasco’s photographs resemble larger-than-life geodes or portals into psychedelic shangri-las. In an exhibition of new work at CES Gallery, “Time Always Finds You,” the artists excavate the sublime potential of natural details.

Adventuresome photographer-wanderers, Doty/Glasco spent the last year traversing the deserts and mountain ranges of California and Utah. While the terrain offered a bounty of sweeping vistas and towering rock formations, the artists homed in on the finer points of their surroundings. They returned to their studio with over 40,000 images that they amassed as an inexhaustible, deeply varied catalog of textures and patterns found in rock, water, and other primordial matter. 

The artists’ project didn’t end here. Intent on drawing out the intangible histories of these age-old substances, they began manipulating the documentary-style photographs. Through a process of splicing, layering, and shading, the otherworldly qualities inherent to their terrestrial subjects began to materialize—injections of brilliant colors revealed the dynamism of glacial fissures; churning sea foam was spotlit and sharpened to capture the ever-changing nature of landscape.

In “Time Always Finds You,” Doty/Glasco further enhance this sense of transformation and surreality by draping, floating, and propping their photographic works. In 11:19:21 (2015), what looks like water or marbled rock is rendered in green and white then printed on silk. The image hangs delicately over a blank canvas, creating dimensional passages of shadow and space that activate the movement inherent in the composition’s network of white lines. In the form of a malleable shroud, the variegated natural surface is both ritualized and, with a slight sense of foreboding, commemorated. 

Four Seconds (2015) layers images of rushing pine-colored water. Mounted to a panel that protrudes from the wall, the photos double as a window into a luminous, well-irrigated alter-world. Here, Doty/Glasco give us a portrait of water’s power—a swirling, mesmerizing well to meditate on, or fall into. 

Similarly, the door-sized Falling Into The Cut (2015) is propped on a tall stick and appears as a passage into a dreamlike, mercurial landscape. Made by adding swathes of purple, pink, and green to an image of an undulating desert, the hypnotizing photograph recalls the kind of awe that rolling waves and gradient skies inspire. But there is also a sense of impermanence. At any moment, colors and crevasses could slide off the canvas, and the wooden stick might collapse out from under it all. In this way, Doty/Glasco transform natural substances, surfaces, and patterns into amulets that pay homage to nature’s beauty, but also warn of its ephemerality.  

Alexxa Gotthardt

Time Always Finds You” is on view at CES Gallery, Los Angeles, Jan. 31–Mar. 7, 2015.

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