Dedicated to covering the visual arts community in Connecticut.

Thursday, October 18, 2007

Erector Square: Andrew Hogan

City-Wide Open Studios
50 Orange St., New Haven, (203) 772-2709
Erector Square: Andrew Hogan
Oct. 14, 2007.

The walls and floor of Andrew Hogan's studio were lined with photographic prints. The images along the floor were black and white, from film. All the color work was digital—shot with a digital camera and printed digitally. Hogan has a darkroom in his studio but hasn't been using it lately.

When shooting digitally, he said, "it's like having color film in the camera. I can only see color. But when I have film in the camera, irrationally, I can only see black and white."

There are large composite prints of nine images—these he farms out for printing—individual prints and paired images. One of the composites contains nine images, each with a directional motif: urban landscapes with arrows on the street, and interiors such as one of an open door with a sign on it reading "Not an Exit" while the light above the door frame states "Exit." (The explanation: when the door is closed, the signs would be on opposite sides.)

Another composite depicts a wooded scene with stacked cut wood in the sunlit forest. These shots were taken on Water Authority land near the Westville/Orange border, Hogan said. To maintain a healthy forest, a forester for the Water Authority picks trees that can be cut to thin the forest. The public can apply for permits to cut and clear the wood.

"We were walking around in there and came upon it and it was like finding Stonehenge, incredibly striking," Hogan told me. "The first time I came upon it, the light wasn't working. I brought the kids back the following weekend—a forced march into there—and the light was just right."

Flipping through a portfolio he had on hand, Hogan said the work he showed in last year's CWOS was all autobiographical. The paired works in this show are also autobiographical, after a fashion. Hogan told me his daughter Alessandra clued him in that he could take pictures with his cellphone. Each print paired an image Hogan shot with his phone with one shot by Rachel Lovins, the woman he's seeing. They take images and send them back and forth.

"I like the conversational aspect and I like the low grade aspect of them, and the immediacy," said Hogan. "And she took all the better ones!"

Most of the images are street photography or keenly observed interiors. There are domestic moments, public gatherings—including an antiwar march in Washington, D.C. from this past March—and intimate moments. In one such image, a bouquet of cream-colored roses burst out of a vase on a dining room table in the foreground. It catches the eye first. But in the background, a naked woman deep beyond the short depth of field washes dishes in the kitchen.

"I love the idea of glimpses. It's what photography is there for, to catch the glimpses in your peripheral vision," said Hogan.

"My ultimate goal is that somebody will look at that and think 'I know what that person is thinking.' Emotional content for me is everything, much more than the formalistic aspect of color," said Hogan. "I want you to be able to reach in there and feel something. That there's something there that clicks with you."

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