The International Museum of Art and Science (IMAS) announces the opening of Chemigrams, a solo exhibition by artist Nolan Preece. These semi-abstract and peculiar artworks provide a unique visual background for social and environmental content. Chemigrams is on view at IMAS from April 21 through July 8.
Preece has a spent a lifetime balancing the elusive and primitive techniques of early photography with new, and technologically advanced and inventive photo-based processes. In the late 1970s and early 1980s, his fondness for experimental photography led him to develop a photographic abstraction process that uses chemical masking and staining techniques to create an image on silver based photographic paper. Preece called his resulting prints “chemograms,” but after recently engaging with a group of artists using similar processes, Preece has renamed his prints “chemigrams.” The chemigrams are produced without the use of a camera; however, fragments of representational photographic imagery are at times integrated with the various chemical effects. As chemical abstractions that suggest a natural world gone awry, Preece's art plays an important role in the pronounced and politicized arguments that surround climate change.
The process of making a chemigram involves combining chemicals to form imagery on silver halide photographic papers. Preece experiments with everyday materials such as acrylic floor wax and common photographic chemical solutions to produce his unique images, which remind us that nature can be viewed as one self-sustaining organism, vulnerable to the touch of mankind’s ‘progressive’ intrusions. Belgian photographer Pierre Cordier, who is widely respected as the founder of the chemigram in the 1950’s, recently referred to Preece as “without a doubt, one of the outstanding practitioners of the chemigram” – a testament to his skills and dedication to the form.
Also represented in this exhibition is a process known as cliché-verre (French for “glass negative”). Preece first experimented with applying chemical solvents on smoke-on-glass plates in 1979. When treated as a negative, the glass plate can be placed in an enlarger and printed on photographic paper as if it were a film negative. Currently, Preece has moved on from the photo enlarger employing a digital scanner to create more expansive images that in turn, open up the field of view to better understanding the fleeting and fluid ‘nature’ of the media.
This exhibition is included in the cost of General Admission and is free for IMAS Members.