Or it could be something as common as a few fibers of carpet in a living room.
Another close up look takes you to an untouched piece of marble.
But you’d never know it unless you ask.
These are the things that catch art photographer Sarah Dunn’s attention, and she hopes the images catch yours, as well.
You can take a close up look at Dunn’s “close up work” this month at the Talladega art gallery LMo&Co., where Dunn is the featured artist.
Dunn displays a series of large format color digital photographs along with a group of her prints, which are photo-etchings from copper plates, in the exhibit and there’s a First Friday event at the gallery this week to welcome you inside.
The event begins at 5:30 p.m. and continues until 9 p.m. and everyone’s invited to stop in, take a look at Dunn’s exhibit as well as the work from other artists in the gallery.
Visiting Dunn and her art, she first points out the two applications of her work, the large digital prints and the smaller etchings.
Then, she likes it when she’s asked exactly what is represented in the pieces, rather than labeling them for the viewer.
“I like the viewers to approach them not knowing exactly what they are,” she said. “And to really take a look at what we typically don’t notice a lot of the time.”
Be it a series of natural markings nature left behind on a piece of marble or the scrunches of a manufactured grocery bag, these things all add up as taking time to note for Dunn.
Even the changes in lighting on a glass bottle neck inside her apartment will catch her camera’s attention.
And the way the images are presented is important, too.
“The variation in how this work is presented, the photographs as large prints and the photo-etchings as smaller prints, installed at varying distances from the wall and covered with encaustic wax, is meant to reference the underlying concept of the work,” Dunn said. “While I feel that, in general, a major role of art in contemporary society is to provoke thought and offer new perspectives on everyday life, my work is inspired by concepts of visual experience and how these experiences are altered and defined.”
The photographs in her exhibition represent moments that are undisturbed by expectations of recognition or familiarity, Dunn said.
“The subjects depicted are presented apart from their understood surroundings and purposes and in being done so, question how we encounter the everyday, yet supposedly insignificant, aspects of our experiences,” she said.
The etchings surrounding each photograph are intended to address the nature of memory as it forms the basis by which we experience our immediate environment, Dunn said.
“I am referencing the evolution or movement of memories over time as we constantly re-create experiences in an attempt to get closer to and analyze or understand them,” she said. “According to scientists Joe LeDoux and Karim Nader, each time we remember a past moment or event, we are actually re-creating that moment from a different personal perspective each time and, as a result, we are creating inaccurate memories based on subjective contexts. Therefore, as this work suggests, the closer we try to get to past experiences, the harder we try to hold on to certain moments or memories, the less we are able to recognize these moments for what they really are and were, and the more we project these possibly altered memories onto present experiences.”
By choosing to photograph every day or seemingly insignificant subjects using a variety of 52 mm macro lenses, Dunn said she tries to emphasize the variation in how people may experience a single moment.
As each image features a small detail of an item or moment, it requires a type of recognition beyond its original meaning and significance, Dunn said.
“For example, in the imagery consisting of a photographic print of sunlight shining on a wood floor, the photograph depicts the reality of what was initially captured with the camera even though the image displayed may at first seem unrecognizable and abstract,” she said. “It also lacks outside contextual information and, lacking titles, asks the viewer to approach the image without background information or language. Also, these images are exhibited as large-format prints in order to suggest a type of significance or importance, demanding that each object be re-evaluated from this new perspective.”
Talking about the printmaking aspect of her exhibition, Dunn said she chose the photo-etching process in order to develop prints that correspond to her photographs and the overall concept.
“Each photo-etching references a particular photographic print, yet displays an altered view of the image,” she said. “An example of this may be seen in the prints that reference the photograph mentioned previously, where each print acts as an actual abstraction of the original scene.”
Although the photo-etched images come directly from its corresponding digital photograph, the printmaking process has allowed Dunn to deliberately manipulate and alter the images.
“As I subtract from and degrade the image through Photoshop manipulations and each step of the printmaking process, creating transparencies of the image, transferring it to the plate, etching the plate, and finally printing a variable edition of each image, the final product exists as a new and independent representation that speaks to notions of memory, or rather, the remembered experience,” she said. “I chose to do a variable edition of each piece in order to communicate the different stages of experiencing a moment through remembering and forgetting and how that experience changes or becomes altered over time.”
Dunn is a native of Talladega and is a 2013 graduate of the University of Montevallo, where she received her bachelor’s degree in fine arts and minored in environmental studies. Her art concentrations were in photography and printmaking.