Next up in our Artist Profile series is Dan Boardman, one of the Mass Cultural Council’s Photography Fellowship awardees who will be showing his work at the upcoming exhibition at the The New Art Center in Newton, MA.
Over the past three years I have photographed in Central New York and New England to create a body of work called The Citizen. This group of images has become a Yoknapatawpha (Faulkner’s fictional county) of my own. As I collected and edited images I began to see a world of uprooted men in a crestfallen landscape dappled with bruised flora and wounded homes. The images have been made into a 24″x30″ book printed on newsprint.
As I photographed, episodes and characters from my upbringing resurfaced. Consciously I was creating a population and a landscape. Some people and places I knew personally, others were met and discovered along the way. When photographed though, these people and places lost their specificity and began to share the themes in photographs that surrounded them in a edit. This dense network of connection between images became it’s own type of fiction. I realize now that fiction can be used as a tool to tackle subjects that are ignored when seen head on.
The novelists Bradbury, Saunders, Faulkner, Ishiguro, O’connor, and LeQuinn amongst many others have been enormously influential in my work. Along side these are stacks of science fiction pulp paperbacks, and comic books. I look at these novelists and artists for strategies in storytelling both written and visual. I try to use these strategies in my own editing process. Editing and sequencing photography to me is a critical step. I am constantly engaged in two or more edits of my own or other artist’s work. I seek to reinvent my strategies for editing at every occasion, and constantly look for new influences to infuse into my construction of books.
Behind all of my photography are questions about the human experience. I am concerned with the present “in body” experience I know, the historical experience of the world i’ve inherited, and the legacy of the place that continues after I die. I also believe photography has a tenuous relationship to reality. Its inescapable accuracy and constant slippage from authenticity are driving concerns in my photographic process. This being said and as old fashion as it may sound, I too believe that photography has the ability to showcase humanity in its full range of mental eccentricity. It can exaggerate or mitigate, confuse or reassure. Sometimes, impossibly, it shows us a world we see with our own eyes brand new again. For me that new world is the human experience expressed in complex, unpredictable, and wonderful ways.
Mass Cultural Council Artist Fellows and Finalist Photography Exhibition
February 28- March 23, 2014
Opening Reception: Friday, February 28, 6-8:30 pm
Artist Talk: Tuesday, March 4, 11am
New Art Center, 61 Washington Park, Newtonville, MA 02460. Gallery hours: Monday – Friday, 9am – 5pm; Saturday 1 – 5pm. The exhibition is free, open to the public and accessible to all.