Working exclusively with analogue silver gelatin prints, Joanne Dugan creates unique works by hand using traditional photographic tools and processes, often without the use of a camera. Multiples are printed, cut and assembled by hand - the physical print is both the subject and the object in Dugan's work.
The artist utilises a slow and methodical approach to rendering a work, a purposeful response to the fastpaced world of digital photography and technological advancement. Dugan brings a meditative practice to the making of her works, where the creation and assembly of the finished pieces involves repetitive movements and intricate hand-cutting techniques. The assembled grids of the Multiples series, where one frame in each composition stands out as different from the others, is meant to symbolise the flash of insight that occurs through meditation. In Buddhist practice this awakening is called Satori, or enlightenment. Within the Meditations series, Dugan extends this practice of hand cutting and creating re-assembled works with a greater intricacy and allows a more informal arrangement of the assembled prints. The resulting compositions directly reference and reinterpret the rudimentary analogue darkroom objects that aided in the very creation of the works.
In Enlarger Lens Meditation, 2019 (pictured right), fifty single silver gelatin prints are created by using the light of an enlarger lens at differing apertures to create monochromatic circles, the resulting arrangement is a minimal abstraction reminiscent of optical art. The stark, monochromatic black and white contrasts and repetitions create the impression of movement within these quiet, slowprocess, meditative works.