Colin Strohm is a collagist, photographer, retoucher and recovering printmaker living and working near Green-Wood Cemetery
Remember Fondly this Time of Such Abundant Waste so Magnificently Crafted
My pro-Reason/techno-materialist/aesthetic-Romanticism and an un-abating desire for greater efficiency drives this work, integrating many practices from the past 20 years: studio photographs of Mint Juleps & Needles, cardboard collages/material-as-object-and-subject of the Ikea Project, reworking & manipulating large format digital prints as in blueeyed boy and Cat Paintings, dissolving & contradictory perspectives and positive-negative spatial enigmas of FF, digitally mediating photos as in Blue Paintings and the Photoshop from my retouching profession. What is important in these works is a fantastical, vertiginous weightlessness at the point where the subjects begin to oscillate back and forth between thing and thinglessness, flipping between the familiar and the arcane, mundane and mysterious. These objects are photo-based, manipulated digitally, printed, collaged, painted on, photographed, manipulated digitally, printed, collaged…within a self-contained, self-regenerating studio ecosystem. They are cannibals, ouroboroses, the production of one feeding the next, the detritus of the anthropocene fueling and burying it all.
I bought an Ikea couch that came in this huge box, almost as big as the apartment I was living in. I cut it in to manageable size pieces and made collages out of it and all the other packaging from that trip. When I used all the materials, the project was complete.
Cardboard, pastel, collage 2000-2002, 8.5"x11"-ish
While working making Iris prints, I collected the weekly calibration tests. The inks were water soluble. These prints I laid on the floor with 5 cups of water, one in each corner and one in the center, to correspond to the 5 Dhyani buddhas, one for each of the cardinal directions and one for the center. These pieces are the results after my cats knocked over the cups. Concurrently I made a series of drip paintings by tacking test prints to the wall and spraying them with water.
Iris prints, 1999, 46"x34"
Since January 2017, I have taken the front page of the New York Times and distorted it digitally, either by moving it in a scanner, or through scripted distortions in Processing or Photoshop. As the paper of record (and an avatar of "media" in general), the NYT has been a trusted source of journalism for decades. In the hands of our current President, truth is not a matter of record. Do honest journalists striving for integrity become complicit in corrupting the truth by simply reporting what the President or his spokespeople say? Things become vertiginous and disorienting, somehow familiar, somewhat legible, but fragmented, beguiling nonsense, both hard to look at and hard to look away from.