3 years ago
dillonk
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Mordançage with Elizabeth Opalenik
Mordançage is a process of altering a silver gelatin photograph by bleaching the print before redeveloping. The emulsion is lifted off of the shadow areas of the paper for the artist to manipulate and create veils. Any area where the emulsion has been removed will appear to be in relief. Obviously since this a unique process, each final print is a unique object. It's not often that an artist comes along and breathes new life into the female nude, I mean, it is one of the most produced subject in art since....ever! However, Elizabeth Opalenik has done just this, incorporating her mastery of the mordançage process in these female nudes. The fluidity of the alterations to the print blends seamlessly with their natural environment she photographs. Many times the mordançage process removes the context of her subjects’ environment, adding a mysterious tone to her work. Here is what Elizabeth says about her work: "In 1983, the beginning of my photographic workshop journey in Provence, I had the distinct pleasure of meeting Jean-Pierre Sudre, the founder of Mordançage. Mesmerized by his talent and knowledge of the photographic chemical reactions, I visited his atelier with students each summer since that workshop and until his death in 1997. In 1991, he offered a week-long seminar on Mordançage for seven Americans, and so began my passion for working in this process. The collection of photographs shown here was created in this French process “Mordançage.” Starting with a high contrast gelatin silver print, the photographic silver emulsion is chemically lifted, removed, or rearranged in the shadow areas. The “draped veils” in the images are my contribution to this process, accomplished by using drops of water to preserve and rearrange the delicate floating silver skin. As such, each piece is unique and is one-of-a-kind. Sundre once said, “You must let your heart and soul enter into this” for the process to work. Not only has my heart and soul entered, but remained firmly planted, as I constantly seek to develop the endless possibilities the “photo gods” offer."
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