Scott McFarland - Sky Leaks
Fort Gansevoort is pleased to announce an exhibition of recent work by Scott McFarland, which will occupy Fort Gansevoort’s three floor exhibition space from February 11th - March 11th, 2017. The exhibition includes McFarland’s Sky Leaks; eleven photographs of clouds displayed in LED light boxes, and the durational photo/video installation Shattered Glass, a view of a winter landscape through a broken window.
In McFarland's Sky Leaks, a series of cloud photographs contain pictorial disruptions caused by multiple factors unique to the analogue photographic process. Some of these disturbances result from film that is outdated, accidentally pre-exposed and/or water damaged. In others, light spilled through cracks in the back and bellows of McFarland’s 4x5 large format camera. Mechanical defects like these, allowing light to enter where it normally would not, are called light leaks. Traditionally regarded as a problem, light leaks are undesirable by photographic standards. Here, McFarland takes a different approach, choosing to accept such unpredictable and accidental occurrences as the basis for alternative aesthetic considerations about the photographic image.
The Sky Leaks photographs contain an apparent contradiction between the compression of volumetric space inherent to photography—exaggerated through close up cropping—and the tendency of clouds to act like markers of depth, particularly in landscape pictures. Various irregularities atop the film’s surface recall its material substrate and reveal aspects of the photographic process that appear lens based but are not. “Clouds,” McFarland writes, “combined with both forms of film effects and light leaks, merge together in a fragmented order exchanging what comes before from what comes later, a priori and posteriori.”
While the view out of the window is a frequent trope in the history of landscape art, Shattered Glass collapses the image through its fractured surface, such that the window is at once a material barrier and a mediating threshold. Its surface boundary, dividing two and three dimensional space, is something we look both at and through.
Using a DLSR camera mounted on a tripod panning device, the 4k video and photographic stills were shot at the same time. As the camera pans fluidly from left to right over the course of nine minutes, the viewer’s gaze moves from interior to exterior space. The final transmounted chromogenic print, realized as a landscape tableau, is actually a composite of several frames shot in a similar proportion to the monitor, using portrait orientation. Because the two components of this work are backlit using a similar LED technology, their visual qualities are unified, allowing both formats to be situated on more equal footing.