The May exhibit in the Step Up Gallery will feature photographs by Jodie Hooker in a series titled Desert Glyphs. Landscape images have been used to represent spiritual ideas since the advent of Art. During the Pictorial photography movement, landscape photographs conveyed such spiritual ideas and concepts of the sublime. Pictorial photographers favored gum dichromate printing for its painterly, ethereal qualities.
The gum dichromate landscapes, chemigrams, and other alternative process photographs in the Desert Glyphs series are also representative of spiritual inklings and sublime beauty. These desert images from Capitol Reef National Park are symbols of retreat and spiritual seeking. When camping, hiking, painting, and photographing in nature Jodie Hooker often recalls a line from The Private Banquet by the poet Rumi: “The sense of sight is too weak to take in this reality.” For this artist, the quirks and flaws in alternative process photographs are an integral part of each image and a way of visualizing the spiritual unseen all around us.
Jodie Hooker was granted an MS in Art Education from the New York State School of Art and Design at Alfred University and an MFA in Photography from the University of Buffalo. She is a professor in the Art department at American River College. She is drawn to ideas involving the nature of reality and the perception of the photograph as real. This play between real and unreal is reflected in the abstract forms and hand done areas of her work. By combining straight, mixed media and alternative process photography she visualizes relationships between subjective and objective reality. Whether landscape or architecture or abstraction, an interchange between the seen world and the felt world is the subject matter of her work. Other examples of her work can be seen at www.hookerj.com
A Note about Process:
Gum dichromate photographs are produced by color separating a digital image onto 3-4 different black and white negatives the same size as the print. One negative for each color, cyan, magenta, yellow and sometimes black. In the Desert Glyph prints a palladium print or cyanotype is used as the first layer on the paper. In These photochemical layers give the image structure. One color and one layer at a time watercolor paint mixed with potassium dichromate is applied, exposed and developed. Once all primary colors are printed on top of the platinum or cyanotype layer a photograph mimicking natural color results. Each layer is a surprise and the resulting final print is a one of a kind image.
Coating silver-gelatin printing paper with a resist such as matt surface spray and then processing the paper in traditional darkroom chemicals produces Chemigrams. In this series a sketch based on the landscapes of Capitol Reef National Park is incised into the surface spray exposing the paper. The paper is then moved from developer to fixative and back for random amounts of time. The incised lines turn black in developer and white in the fix and as the resist deteriorates black, purple, and brown textures and patterns appear. Each of these chemigrams was moved from bath to bath repeatedly over a six to eight hour period. The resulting photograph is abstract but related to the desert forms in Capitol Reef National Park.
Jodie Hooker — Capitol Reef 2
Jodie Hooker — Capitol Reef 8
Jodie Hooker — Desert Flower 1
Jodie Hooker — Capitol Reef 3