Chris Dahlquist

My current artwork is a culmination of over thirty years with a camera in my hands and an earnest study of photographic history. These pieces in the Mile Marker Series are comprised of sheets of dark brown steel, painted with many layers of gold paint, providing a textured and luminous underpainting for my photograph. I then print the image on top of this painted surface, allowing the gold to shine through. The result is an image that is ever-changing, both with the lighting because of the luminosity and with the viewing angle because of the texture. Photographically my images are about space and light and are not meant to be about a specific location, but to recall a sense or memory of place. They are metaphors for space in-between where things are subtly beautiful, a visual respite in a saturated world. Because of my desire to continuously explore new images and to create only original artwork, each piece I create is singular; the material, handwork, and photograph combine to form a unique object, one that lives outside the world of reproduction. Additionally, I print each photograph only once per size, which means I have a constantly changing gallery of works available. My photographs are works of fiction based on true stories – a distillation of collective memories and inner dialogues, quiet moments and islands of solitude with fewer fireworks but more daydreams. Working at the nexus of analog processes and digital technology, I employ unconventional materials to expand the story my photographs tell. The materiality, layers, textures, shadows, and viewing angles combine to elevate photographs from static images to transformative objects. In this series, Measuring Abundance, I am printing my photographs onto a semi-translucent polyester acetate, then suspending that image over an image printed on a traditional rag paper, obscuring details and adding marks created both digitally and by hand. Measuring Abundance draws on the vocabulary and constructs used in ecology to question how we place value on open land, solitude, and silence. The series is informed by a recent consulting project where I was tasked with measuring the value of artists and the arts using data and graphs and responding to my new involvement in real estate development, where the discussion is cost and income per square foot or value per acre. In all of this accounting, how do we measure the value of something that can’t be quantified?

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Kansas City, MO 64106