Phenomenon, Bolinas Musuem

April 8 - June 11, 2017

With artists: Lisa Blatt, Susan Derges, Lukas Felzmann, Maia Flore, Jack Fulton, Elijah Gowin, Germán Herrera, Thomas Jackson, Sangyon Joo, Chris McCaw, Meghann Riepenhoff

Guest Curated by Thomas Sempere

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More often than not photographs are called upon to illustrate mere information. Descriptive or factual, the documentary use of the medium dominates. On occasion however, one might stumble upon an image that manifests differently. Either by circumstance or through an artist’s intervention, the result brings forth a range of senses from wonder to the sublime.

Culled from their larger context, brought together and hung with dissimilar works, each of the prints nonetheless remain exceptional. And like the process of sublimation (where an elemental substance leapfrogs from one state to another) these images too make a bypass, skipping the grounding of intellect by manifesting phenomena directly as spirit or something simply marvelous. 


Guest curator Thom Sempere has taught at the San Francisco Art Institute, University of California, Berkeley and Stanford University and is currently Executive Director of PhotoAlliance. 

Low Fidelity: CPA, Carmel, CA

April 8 - May 28

Artists’ Walk-Through: Saturday, April 8, 4 – 5pm
Opening Reception: Saturday, April 8, 5 – 7pm

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CPA has invited five groundbreaking photographers for its exhibition, Low Fidelity: The Action of Light. The innovative approaches to photography of John Chiara, Chris McCaw, Moira McDonald, Klea McKenna, and Meghann Riepenhoff have drawn the attention of museum curators and collectors from New York to Los Angeles, as well as from those interested in the renewed explorations of pre-digital photography. Each of these artists has chosen to forgo the tech-heavy aspects of today’s version of the medium in order to revisit primary photographic methods using the action of natural light to create their images. Working with handmade or modified cameras, or no camera at all, all are readapting processes of the past and discovering novel approaches, while redefining what photography can be. Join CPA’s Executive Director Brian Taylor and the artists in the CPA gallery on Saturday, April 8 from 4 to 5 pm as they discuss their innovative photographs and projects. Following the talk, there will be an opening reception in the gallery from 5 to 7 pm. Wine and hors d’oeuvres will be serve and exhibition catalogs will be for sale.

San Francisco artist John Chiara builds his own room-sized cameras, which he transports to locations ranging from city streets to open landscapes, on a flatbed truck. He creates his one of a kind prints by developing his color photographic paper “positives,” which can be up to 50 x 80 inches in size, in a huge PVC pipe filled with developer. The finished images demonstrate both raw, hands-on effects and exceptional detail. His work is held in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Pilara Foundation, San Francisco; and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

San Francisco Bay area artist Chris McCaw custom-makes his own cameras. Using photographic paper rather than film, he photographs the sun, making minutes- hours- or even multi-day long exposures, which burn the sun’s path onto the paper and capture its movements against its land or sea background. McCaw’s work is held in the collections of the J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; the Whitney Museum of American Art, New York City;  and the National Gallery of Art, Washington DC.

Currently a San Francisco resident, the Australian born artist Moira McDonald is known for her experiments with pinhole cameras. Designing her cameras to imitate birdhouses and installing them in the wild, she exposes images of the landscape over extended periods of time. McDonald teaches in San Francisco and has exhibited nationally and internationally. She earned her Masters of Fine Arts degree at San Jose State University, San Jose, CA.

San Francisco-based photographer Klea McKenna uses light-sensitive paper to investigate ingenious methods for interacting photographically with the landscape. She uses the paper to make rubbings of organic materials, folds and reshapes it, and collects the limited nighttime light to create photograms. She has exhibited widely in California and on the East Coast. Her work is held in the collections of San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, Santa Barbara Museum of Art, and the United States Embassy Collection.

Atlanta born, San Francisco and Washington-based photographer Meghann Riepenhoff takes light sensitive photographic papers outside, and manipulates them to capture the elemental movements of rain, lake, river and ocean waters, wind, sand, and sediment, chronicling remarkable visual evidence of nature’s action over time. Riepenhoff has exhibited widely, both nationally and internationally. Her work is held in the collections of the High Museum of Art, Atlanta; the Museum of Fine Arts, Houston; and the San Francisco Museum of Modern Art.