Vancouver

Patryk Stasieczek: Asking For It at FIELD Contemporary

Patryk Stasieczek is a painterly photographer. He is part of a loosely united cadre of artists whose work has been identified as “immaterial”—they’ve abandoned the apparatus of the camera almost entirely, but still use alternative darkroom processes and light-sensitive paper. Stasieczek’s abstract, kaleidoscopic works draw on the experimental legacies of analog photography, but are no less rooted in the digital realm. Accordingly, these are the key elements that emerge in Asking For It, the artist’s latest solo exhibition at FIELD Contemporary.

Patryk Stasieczek. Gestured Interference (13), 2015; UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam; 16 x 20 in.

Patryk Stasieczek. Gestured Interference (13), 2015; UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam; 16 x 20 in.

Psychedelic and transcendent, Asking For It transgresses the traditional boundaries of the photographic medium by rejecting the representational in favor of total abstraction. As a record of their own production, these works emphasize the materiality of analog processes while denying the figurative intentions typical of photography. Conceived by the artist as interventions within stages of image production, they are innovative in a way that resists the banal simplicity of the digital.

In the Gestured Interference (2015) series, which includes multiple iterations, Stasieczek has taken a cellphone camera and smashed it with varying amounts of force against a number of telematic devices (technologies that transmit computerized information across long distances). This physical collision of technologies causes interference in the transmission and reception of a light frequency via the camera’s sensor. Gestured Interference (11), for instance, was achieved by striking a camera phone against a tube monitor while simultaneously taking images of the resulting effects.[1] Like the other works in the exhibition, the colorful lines of Gestured Interference (11) document the moment of the image’s making. The essence behind the image is the physical action, and it points to nothing outside of the technologies that were used for its production.

Patryk Stasieczek. Gestured Interference (01), 2015; UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam; 16 x 20 in.

Patryk Stasieczek. Gestured Interference (01), 2015; UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam; 16 x 20 in.

Moiré (Light Painting Study) (2013) is as technically complex as it is visually stimulating. A moiré pattern is a visual motif achieved by overlaying two identical series of straight lines or dots slightly askew from one another to produce a wavy pattern. Moiré also refers to the manifestation of unintentional visual artifacts in digital photography as an effect of the medium’s technological composition. Moiré patterns can be detected on television screens when a person wears patterned clothing—the interlaced scanning in televisions and digital cameras cause this moiré pattern to appear. The pattern is also evident when a television screen is photographed with a digital camera due to the scanning technique used by both devices to produce and capture images; the conflicting sets of lines cause a moiré to appear. Stasieczek has captured this effect by projecting a patterned image through an enlarger twice, and shifting one image slightly.

The artist further explores the potentials of optical techniques in Untitled (Scale) (2015), a photogram in which shapes and images are produced directly on light-sensitive paper. The photogram is a technique made famous by early-20th-century photographer Man Ray; it is achieved by placing objects on photo-sensitive material and exposing them to light.[2] Stasieczek dramatically enlarges his works, with the largest photogram extending to forty-eight by sixty inches. Like Man Ray, Stasieczek is an innovator who traverses the border of photography by wandering toward painting. The commingling of photographic technique with the sensibilities of painting results in a sophisticated collection of images that are both formally and technically intriguing. 

Patryk Stasieczek. Symphony of Greys (King Photo/Custom Colour/The Lab), 2015; Photogram on digital light-jet chromogenic backlit paper on fluorescent lights, as found light box fixture; 48 x 72 x 9 in.

Patryk Stasieczek. Symphony of Greys (King Photo/Custom Colour/The Lab), 2015; photogram on digital light-jet chromogenic backlit paper on fluorescent lights, as found light box fixture; 48 x 72 x 9 in.

Symphony of Greys (2015) makes use of a light box, again invoking the technology related to photography but avoiding the camera itself. Additionally, this light box has its own past; it belonged to various Vancouver-based photo studios (King Photo and Custom Colour) before ending up in Stasieczek’s hands. The artist plays with the essential elements of photography—the agency and operation of light—and modifies the fluorescent lighting tubes by wrapping them with color gels and changing the industrial object into a delicate, colored display. Stasieczek extends his fascination with the light box by modifying the gallery’s street sign (which reads “FIELD”) by wrapping the internal light tubes with theater gels.

Asking For It, Patryk Stasieczek, Installation View at Field Contemporary, 2015. Left: Moiré, Pock, Wiggle (Light Painting Studies), UV laminated light paintings on chromogenic paper. Center: UV laminated digital light-jet print and photogram on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on dibond. Right: Gestured Interference (07, 10, 01, 13, 08), UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam.

Asking For It, Patryk Stasieczek, Installation View at FIELD Contemporary, 2015. Left: Moiré, Pock, Wiggle (Light Painting Studies), UV laminated light paintings on chromogenic paper. Center: UV laminated digital light-jet print and photogram on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on dibond. Right: Gestured Interference (07, 10, 01, 13, 08), UV laminated digital light-jet print on metallic chromogenic paper, mounted on foam.

Stasieczek’s experiments necessitate a relinquishing of power. Chance operates in the works’ production, whether through violent acts in the Gesture Interference series or through chemical and light interferences that occur in his photograms. The unpredictability of the darkroom contributes to the dynamism of this collection. The artist creates the conditions under which his images emerge, developing a creative authorship that rests somewhere outside his complete control.

Patryk Stasieczek: Asking For It is on view at FIELD Contemporary in Vancouver through April 252015.

[1] Patryk Stasieczek, email message to author, April 2, 2015.

[2] Robert Hirsch, Seizing the Light: A History of Photography (Boston: McGraw-Hill, 2000).

 

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