Gallery Wendi Norris is pleased to announce a solo exhibition of works by artist Christine Elfman, recipient of the 2014 San Francisco Artist Award.
Through a selection of photographs and paintings, Elfman’s Fix and Fade explores the longing for stability while acknowledging the reality of change. Working with the traditional processes of anthotypy and flower hunting as well as contemporary forms of photography, Elfman’s works occupy various states of material stability. The anthotype, first suggested in 1842, is a photographic image created using paper coated with a photosensitive plant extract. After placing a thin material on top, the composite is exposed to sunlight. The coating begins to fade, leaving behind a shadow image of the shielding material. Generated from the disintegration of the plant extracts, anthotype photographs are ephemeral by nature. Flower hunting, appropriates fugitive plant colors to produce classical trompe l’oeil images of flowers in the classical tradition of Dutch still lives and botanical illustrations. Like anthotypy, this technique produces vulnerable images, prone to degradation.
In the diptych “Looking Back,” a fading anthotype made of a rose petal emulsion, depicts a partially veiled female head from a fragment of ancient Greek marble statuary. The image is juxtaposed with a candid silver gelatin print of the artist’s friend, her face similarly obscured. Poignant in their resemblance, the two images place each other in relief, highlighting the passage of time and the consistency of the artistic gesture.
Emphasizing the tension between producing imagery as a form of posterity and material’s tendency towards decomposition, the works in Fix and Fade ultimately accept the impossibility of rendering anything as permanent or invariable.