Sam Montalbetti / PLAYTIME (vol. 2) // Du 17 au 29 mai 2022

« Playtime »

This exhibition contains large scale prints of photographs from my ongoing series “Playtime”. Within this body of work, I’m using photography in a painterly and musical process, constructing and composing multiple exposure photographs of photograms. Layered with colours and forms, the pictures have a psychedelic quality to them, inviting viewers to get lost in the images and reveal details unnoticed at first glance. 

      These pictures begin in the colour darkroom, where I make photograms (any photograph made without a camera) playing with light, colour filters and the physicality of light sensitive paper. In my studio I cut, arrange, light and install these prints for the camera. Playing again, I photograph different arrangements on the same piece of film. This allows light and the prints’ colours, forms and positions in space to mix on the film.    

      Play is the free-flowing actions and behavior done within a set of rules. After realizing how much I was playing in the darkroom and studio to compose these pictures, I came to understand play as a natural part of me using photography, akin to how musicians are thought of as “playing” their instruments. As an avid listener of recorded music, most of what I end up experiencing in music is an interaction of separately recorded sounds; the bass might be recorded independent of the vocals, which in turn are recorded separate from other instruments, but I hear them all together.  Looking at the derivation of the word “photo – graphy” (“light” – “recording”) reveals that these pictures are very similar.  Playing my instruments (the camera, the lights, the boundaries of the film, etc.,) I too am making a dense, layered mixture of recordings.  Except instead of sound, I mix recordings of light. 

This project was supported through a Scholarship Award by The B.C. Art’s Council. 

Artist Statement

Exploring the medium as a site for intuition and curiosity to lead my actions, I see my work in photography as a form of psychedelic magic; I’m drawn to the intrinsic uncovering or revealing that happens in photography, while also creating work that elicits an emotional response in viewers.  From its etymology, “psychedelic” means to reveal or uncover in the mind, the soul or the spirit.  Photography is constantly showing states of the world, details and forms that are either unnoticed or completely invisible to human vision. Things latent and outside of normal perception only to be uncovered by photography. My interest in magic is twofold, and stems from Charlotte Cotton’s 2015 book titled « Photography is Magic » where she makes a great connection between Photography and sleight of hand illusion/deception-based magic.  I’m also interested in the similarities between the roles of artists and Witches and Wisemans’ mystical uses of magic; that is, to use their spells and supernatural abilities to help people deal with their anxieties and insecurities in life.   Having come to Photography through a love of music, the cathartic potential of art is a driving force in my practice.  Culminating in publications and exhibitions, I display one body of work or use these contexts to further explore connections between initially discreet projects.  

Vernissage : Friday May 20 5pm-9pm

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