Continuing through August 12, 2023
As a conceptual photographer working with digital media, Paho Mann reveals the unseen in the eight photographic images comprising “Latent Constructions.” He takes up the standard art historical genre of the still lifes, in this case flowers. Typical of the artist’s style, remnants of obsolete technology like camera parts, lenses, and old phones also appear in the pictures.
With the use of 3D scanning software Mann constructs, or captures if you will, a composite photo formed by an amalgamation of the hundreds of angles the software collects in order to make a complete image. The conceit at work here is that the artist selects the digitized, pixelated, images that the software creates during the process that are ordinarily not seen at all. The data is then imported to Photoshop, where the artist distills the three-dimensional images using clearly outmoded, two-dimensional software.
Metaphorically, Mann’s interest lies in the obsolescence of technology in reference to his choice of machine parts as one of his subjects. He completes the binary aspect of his project, technology vs. nature, by choosing flowers as the symbol for the passage of time, decay, and fleeting memories.
These works are actually archival pigment prints, dated 2022, that read as abstractions taken from reality. In a way this sets up his form of a critique leveled at the practice of photography and its contention, from the beginning, to create a faithful representation of reality. Mann suggests the photographic medium never did create that faithful representation; the technology became more advanced it was countered by the limits put upon it such that it is always a mediated, never fully representational image, which, this work suggests, is an inherent limitation.
In the exceptional “Various Security Cameras with Flowers,” the surface is bisected horizontally in several places by lines that read as visual slips, or cuts, acquired from the process. At the center of what might be a table sits a whirling mass of color that represents the summation of Mann’s manipulation of the multitude of images of cameras and flowers. Teeming with pixelated sections in yellow, purple, red, and blue, the surface looks like a glitched, disintegrated, even deconstructed, picture.
From the process, these works reveal the layering that went into creating them. It looks like several different images sit on top of each other, lending a depth and texture to the pieces. The effect is so complete as to make it seem that Mann used collage or some assemblage of images in each one, when in reality they are individual prints.
In “Recycling and Flowers V1” white is the overall color scheme in an image that looks like a cityscape full of roads and skyscrapers. A burst of color in the center left section reaches to the top. This comes from the flowers that look as if they’re shooting out from the structures beneath them.
An ephemeral quality permeates each of the images. This underscores the coming and going of successive technological breakthroughs as much as it comments on the preponderant accumulation of spent, worn out data and bits of computer code that have nowhere else to go.