Matthew Brandt is an American artist, born in Los Angeles, California in 1982; and is known for creating large-scale photographs through “labour-intensive processes” that elicit the origins of 19th century photography. The question Brandt most often refers to in his art is the questions of “What is a photograph?” A question we are very familiar with from our class work. Brandt calls his approach, “A little bit messy and experimental”, as he believes that in order to create distinctive images, he must first separate his work from the rest. His approach often incorporates the use of found materials from the locations in which he captures his images to further represent what he sees in front of him. This is evident in his series “Lakes and Reservoirs” (2011). Experimentation is a notion Brandt is familiar with as he states, “Only through experimentation can you arrive at something new” (Paginton, 2011).
Matthew Brandt has showcased works throughout the United States as well as Europe, and in November 2016, produced his third solo show at the Yossi Milo gallery titled, “Night Skies” (2016). Often combining methods of image-making, such as painting, silkscreen and photography, Brandt successfully creates innovate and experimental pieces that capture the attention of the viewer. Methods of alternative photography are often used by Brandt, as in his series, “La Brea” (2014), where he explored archeological subject matter through the use of a heliograph. (What is a heliograph?)
I am drawn to the work of Matthew Brandt because similar to him, I often use outside materials as a way of physically altering film to convey meaning. In my personal practice, I frequently manipulate the physicality of the image to further enhance the message, and question “what really is a photograph?” and “when does an image stop being a photo?” I enjoyed reading about Brandt’s similar approaches and am interested in his use of alternative photography as a way to create images.
Technically, Brandt uses a wide range of materials and resources to create his works as a way of deepening the meaning and relationship between the piece and the message it is trying to convey. Through the incorporation of natural material, Brandt is also able to create a unique relationship that physically connects the image to the place. Conceptually, Brandt is attempting to create a physical connection between photo and place, and examines the overall notion of photographic materiality. Through the intentional destruction of the image, Brandt is undoing the process of photography and ultimately exposing hidden meanings that can exists between the photo and the place. This methodology is something that I would like to try and incorporate in my final project.
Paginton, F. “Matthew Brandt”. Dazed. 2011. http://www.dazeddigital.com/photography/article/11080/1/matthew-brandt
“Matthew Brandt”. Artspace. 2017. https://www.artspace.com/matthew_brandt
“Matthew Brandt”. Yossi Milo Gallery. 2014. http://www.yossimilo.com/exhibitions/2014_03-matthew_brandt/
“Process”. Harry Ransom Center. N.d. http://www.hrc.utexas.edu/exhibitions/permanent/firstphotograph/process/