Glenn Lewis: Signs of Life
January - February, 2011
My interest in photography is involved less with the medium and technical aspects than with what comes after. For me, photography and photographs give rise to images and concepts of archives, fragments of people, lives, landscapes, signs and emotions and all kinds of things that conspire in our daily lives, community and politics.
The series of photo-collages, Signs of Life are juxtaposed photographs that I shot in the past, took more recently, or found. Each photograph is a result of a thought, a moment in my life, even a discovery. They always seemed like fragments in this way, like everyday life is. When I configure them with each other, I can mend the fragments into a new reality, another configuration, or some thing I didn’t know was there in the first place with poetic and conflicting meanings.
Photographs have also given me the opportunity to explore and learn from art history, and to situate it in my work from within that consideration. To me Cézanne was the most interesting artist when I was studying painting at art school 53 years ago. I was fascinated by his use of warm and cool colours to create a new shallow space that wasn’t dependent on perspective or chiaroscuro. This was of course the basis of the modern ’styles’ and material exploration that followed: cubism, collage, fauvism, abstraction, readymades, etc. The series of photographs, Bar Provence, Aix (Jouers) evoke Cézanne’s Cardplayers, but also Manet’s use of mirrors and colour harmonies with black and compositions based in photographs. Both were concerned with the everyday and ordinary people that arose from Baudelaire’s interest in the urban exploration of the flaneur.