The walk home from the diner on the Day of Exposure gathered dread with each step, and my emotions felt deeply incongruous with the beautiful day. The juxtaposition rang like an echo of the ominous dread that tinted the air on that beautiful tuesday morning, September 11th, 2001. Surely there have been many days in the nearly two decades between these moments where the sun has been this bright and the sky this blue, but these two have been recorded in my mind as oversaturated blue blue skies etched with caustic fear into something that hangs somewhere between hyperreal and surreality.
In the history of art, the introduction of the Camera Obscuras in the 16th century transformed the quality of images captured by painters. There was a sudden leap in realism as this technology employed a pinhole projection of a brightly lit outdoor scene on the wall of a dark enclosed room, that could be essentially traced to mark position and relationships between objects. This method created an image that was brightest at the center, with progressive lack of focus and light toward the edges. The image was projected inverted (flipped both left/right and upside down), making it hard to make sense of on the one hand, but easier to trace accurately without the brain filtering the image with ideas or symbols.
The images created with Camera Obscura techniques tend to have a similar light quality, a mixture of overexposure and under an indistinct and detached shroud of darkness. This can likely be explained by the bright light required for adequate projection, and the strangeness of reading/painting the colorful projection in the dark. It feels like an apt metaphor for the way this world feels right now, oversaturated information filtering in through various pinholes often distorted, upside down, backwards, easy to misinterpret, and shrouded in the darkness of pandemic anxiety.
Inside this box of our apartment, with information filtering in through various fiber optic channels, we have sprouted greens in the windows, share the air with only each other and the cat, and I am bumbling forward with my effort to create art. Part vivarium, part camera obscuras; life observed, lived, cherished, and mourned in the shroud of darkness and uncertainty of this time.