Working in the pitch darkness – there’s more to seeing

The conceptions of my art begins as large translucent paintings in a hard-edge minimalist style.   Once the painting is done, the theater of light begins.   The best way to control light is in total darkness.  Using  traditional photo-paper acting as my canvas.  I roll out giant sheets of photo paper and lay the translucent painting on top.  The painting is my structure that become re-interpreted with bursts of light from a small flashlight.

day in the life of photogram artist, Richard Slechta

Working in the pitch black, you have to use more than your eyes.  There is a leap of faith one has to hold in the disorienting unfamiliarity of sight-less-ness.  There is a clumsiness in the darkness, but also an heightened internal sensitivity that allows me to envision the final artwork.  I see myself like a jazz musician, that chooses a measure and beat, then relinquishing control within that framework.

As I make each flashing mark of light, there won’t be any visual response on the photo-paper.  This method of creation is notably different way of working than any other art medium.  There’s no visual feedback to guide you along the way.  Only after I’m done making the exposures and chemically process the photo-paper, will I be able to see the outcome.

test print of photogram, Precariously Bright