Light and Paper/Mes Plantes, the second solo show from Peter Moriarty at BigTown Gallery, explores the relationships that are central to the concept of photography – lens, film, light and paper. Borrowing inspiration from the surrealist artists of the 1930s, this is a series of camera-less pictures and negative prints on 16" x 20" gelatin-silver sheets that seem to erupt from the unconscious in bursts of transparent light.
This exhibition presents the first opportunity to see Moriarty's more introspective approach to photography, and a counterbalance to his previous 20 year project documenting greenhouses from around the world in his Warm Rooms suite of over 60 photographs. He is, as ever, inquisitive of the balance of light and nature. The objects depicted both in the balance of positive and negative space are re-imagined within the borders of each piece, posing questions as to the relationship between transparency and tone, and the experimentation of light as it passes through objects, creating their own lasting impressions.
Within the artist statement Moriarty notes, “Leo Katz called the pictures that Lotte Jacobi made from 1930-1960 photogenic drawings, borrowing the term from the first British photographs created by W.H.F Talbot in the 1820s. Anna Atkins made Victorian cyanotypes of her plants, which hold a place within the history of photography. One could say that there has been a secondary tradition of making cameraless prints from the 19th to the 21st century.”