Bronze 2017 Fine Art / Abstract

The New Machinery

  • Prize
    Bronze in Fine Art/Abstract
  • Photographer
    Martin Venezky

For years, as a graphic designer by trade, I’ve used photography to develop formal design languages. Using the camera to isolate and combine elements into new graphic form, I’ve been able to create unexpected solutions. Now, as my photo practice takes center stage, I’ve deepened this process while advancing photography’s generative possibilities.My work straddles analog and digital practice, and starts with collections of scavenged and disassembled tools, toys, and appliances. These metal, glass, and plastic remnants are combined in front of the camera, together with drawings and (materials) into thousands of small material and light studies. Similar to classic darkroom photograms, these studies break down the complicated act of seeing into small units — physical building blocks with which I construct large compositions in active, sculptural space.During this process, I am struck by the way these small prints coalesce into larger structures complete with their own logic and narrative. Sometimes the elements dissolve into each other, other times they are adversaries. The larger picture’s content arises as the relationship between the parts develops. This is how generative photography becomes an additive process.As a final crucial step, I use the physical construction as a map to rebuild the image in a digital format, crossing media once again to retranslate the image into a flattened, stylized product. Moving in and out of 2D and3D space keeps the results unpredictable and the viewer simultaneously confounded and engaged.I've labeled these mysterious contraptions The New Machinery as a nod towards the recycled materials and the machine-like logic in their creation and perception. I think of each of them as a sinister and seductive presence whose function remains inscrutable. They become a form of photographic science fiction cobbled together from discarded utilitarian parts.