NOVEMBER 9, 2013 – JANUARY 4, 2014
Jane Hammond has been a collector and combiner of found images since the mid-eighties. Early on, Hammond created a lexicon, or visual vocabulary, of 276 disparate images drawn from phrenology, alchemy, bee keeping, Mayan knots, magic tricks, art history, puppetry, and more—many of these images appear in her “Loose Tapestries of Daily Life.” The recombinant nature of her work allows her to explore many themes and ideas—sometimes sexy, sometimes serious, both literal and mysterious, always provocative.
In 2004 Hammond began searching for photographic representations of the images in her lexicon, searching flea markets and eBay, ultimately developing a network of dealers and pickers she met through attending vernacular photo markets and fairs, and sometimes borrowing vernacular material from other collectors. She also takes her own photographs both in a documentary and set-up fashion and uses these as components alongside the found images.
Leaving the original lexicon behind, Hammond works from this new, ever-expanding “library” of about fifteen thousand photographs to create fictional narratives, digitally collaging elements from as many as 30 photographs to create new compositions. She then converts the digital file of the completely new image into a negative that is printed in a dark room as a silver gelatin print. A woman who was on the beach in California is now dancing in an explosion site in New Jersey wearing a dress Jane sewed for her last week in the studio, she holds a turtle Hammond’s Mother had as a pet.
The photographs led to an entirely new body of work in painting began in 2009 and derived from both the actual found photographs and the “invented” – i.e. combined – found photographs. Hammond’s “Dazzle” paintings attempt, through their faceted and shifting relationship to reflected light, to infuse the image with some of the evanescence, conditionality and actuality of its moment of origin – its “snapped” moment.
Materially, the Dazzle paintings consist of images hand-painted on a surface of layered mica sheets, with gold, silver, copper and palladium metal leaf, on top of a Plexiglas substrate. This layered surface is both translucent and reflective—and variably so. Behind this surface Hammond builds a topography of various reflective materials in compound angles and shapes. The complex structured reflectivity of this topography has a conceptual purpose: It begins with the fact that light penetrates through the surface of the painting, strikes the faceted surfaces and dazzles back towards the viewer thru the image. (Hammond calls this subterranean topography of reflectivity “the dazzle board.”) This dazzling is intentionally conditional in nature, and it is inter-active. These two concepts, conditionality and interactivity, are at the heart of these paintings.