ARTIST STATEMENT: Jonathan Lipkin
the translucence of time : ocean
I spent my childhood at the seashore, in the water, or on the sand listening to the rhythm of the waves as I read or dozed. Over the past seven years, I have fashioned a conceptual and technical framework to respond the ocean - not to its outward appearance, but its emotional resonance. This work is a way to recapture the psychological space of the ocean and my deep connection to it.
The ocean is changing, repetitive, and stable. Waves crash steadily onto the beach as the horizon stretches limitlessly before us. Ocean is the first chapter of a series that examines our relationship with the natural world and our perception of infinity through composite photographs of the sea exhibited at monumental scale.
Time and again, I pointed my camera at the waves, yet my photographs invariably showed it inert - motionless in time - and never revealed its alchemy, its mystery, its allure. It was this failure that prompted me to formulate a technical and artistic framework to mirror the transience of the sea and create order from the seemingly random, undulating, and interconnected structures of the surf. My photographs witness events that can only be perceived through an active photographic process.
Photographs are said to freeze time, and most exposures are short enough that the passage of time is not apparent. While we have become accustomed to what is often called â€˜straight photography,â€™ this style is not adequate to convey my experience of the ocean. By leaving the cameraâ€™s shutter open for several seconds, I create photographs that, while not traditionally sharp, suggest the fleeting nature of the sea. By combining several exposures into a single image, I hint that our perception of a scene is fragmentary and incomplete.
Large prints mirror our view of the oceanâ€™s limitless horizon - it is the nothing you look at when you forget you are looking, a place that is not a place. The aspect ratio of my photographs approximates our field of vision as we gaze at the vista of the sea. Smaller prints create a more intimate experience.
The ocean calls to me. These photographs are my response.
44â€ x 88â€ edition of 3 with one artistâ€™s proof, archival pigment print mounted on Dibond 24â€ x 48â€ with 2.5â€ border, edition of 7 with two artistâ€™s proofs, mounted on Sintra