Liz Nielsen's Apparitions is the artist's first monograph, published in 2022. The publication includes more than 40 works that were created between 2014-2021, with contributions by Sarah Allen, Head of Programme at the South London Gallery, Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs at the Victoria & Albert Museum, and Annabel Osberg, freelance journalist for Artforum and the Financial Times, amongst others.
Nielsen's work is a contemporary application of one of the best-known avant-garde photographic processes - the photogram - which was first mastered by Man Ray and Maholy-Nagy at the beginning of the twentieth century. Using traditional photographic chemicals in the colour darkroom, Nielsen's 'light paintings' are sublime depictions of otherworldly realms and forms created using the historic photogram technique - a method of camera-less photography that reduces the medium to its most essential elements: light and photosensitive paper.
Bringing together jewel-toned swathes of liquid colour with striking forms, the artist explores theories of quantum physics and spiritualism, whilst pushing the boundaries of the photographic medium. The resulting works blur the distinction between photography and contemporary art, creating one-of-a-kind compositions that appeal and entice both the traditional photography enthusiast as well as the contemporary art collector alike.
Nielsen's in-depth knowledge of the physics of light and colour theory are necessary to execute her unique analogue colour photograms. There is a mastery of skill, not only with the variation, depth of colour and texture she is able to achieve in her compositions, but also the intricacy of shapes, layers and precision within the work. Unlike traditional black and white photograms where a red light can be used in a darkroom, Nielsen must work in total darkness when creating these pieces. The resulting works are a testament to the performative interaction of the artist's hand, light and paper and depict the artist's rehearsed actions, a precise choreography, performed in complete darkness. Driven largely by the mysteries of the universe, the unique works are treasure troves of symbolism, with their luminous apparitions that shift between abstraction and representation.
Liz Nielsen is an experimental photographer based in Brooklyn and Newburgh, New York. Nielsen's innovative practice upends the traditional method of analogue photography. The artist has exhibited extensively throughout the United States and Europe, including solo exhibitions in Los Angeles, New York, London, and Paris. Her photograms have been featured at international art fairs such as Paris Photo, Photo London, Sweden's Landskrona Foto, and Unseen Amsterdam. Nielsen has been reviewed in Artforum, The New Yorker, The Guardian, Financial Times, LensCulture, British Vogue, and Foam Magazine, among others. Nielsen's work was part of the J.P. Morgan Curator's Highlights: Pictures-In-Play at Paris Photo Fair 2016 and has works included in the JPMorgan Chase Art Collection. She was an artist-in-residence at the Budapest Art Factory in Budapest, Hungary, in 2016 as well as at the McColl Center of Art + Innovation in Charlotte, North Carolina, in 2020. Liz Nielsen received a M.F.A. in Photography at the University of Illinois at Chicago and a B.F.A from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago.
Apparitions was produced by SOCO Gallery in collaboration with Black Box Projects and Miles McEnery Gallery. Special thanks to Jules Thomson, VeronaLibri, and Michael Dyer at Remake Design; Annabel Osberg for her interview "Quantum Visions": Martin Barnes, Senior Curator, Photographs at the Victoria and Albert Museum, London, and Sarah Allen, Head of Programme at the South London Gallery, London, for their written contributions.
A limited number of copies are available to purchase through Black Box Projects. Please enquire here for more information and to purchase.