The photography-based work of NEW/NOW artist Kwabena Slaughter is currently featured in the New Britain Museum of American Art’s Cheney Gallery from Jan. 29 to April 25, 2010.
Popular photographic images bear a strong visual similarity with western painting; Slaughter deconstructs this notion of photography, as well as the structure of the camera, by utilizing an entire roll of film to create one distorted and continuous photograph. He considers cameras and photographs cultural artifacts that reveal a great deal about the society. His work asks: “what would photography look like if it had grown out of a different aesthetic tradition?”
Delving into the depiction of space, time, and narrative, Slaughter uses a specially adapted camera to shoot onto rolls of color slide-film; there are no breaks in the frames and the ensuing panoramic effect, at times over 100-ft long, is horizontally displayed on a light-box. Slaughter commented in his 2008 Oh Very Yes exhibit at the Smack Mellon Gallery in Brooklyn, NY that “before the invention of photography, and the movie camera, the scroll was the way to depict a narrative that was taking place over time. A unique quality of the scroll is that all the scenes exist in one unbroken image. I have been trying to recover this unified presentation through photography.”
Demonstrating this unbroken image is Slaughter’s Dancing with the Woman in Red which depicts a couple dancing across a 648 inch by 10 inch, 35 mm filmstrip. The couple in the piece surge through the extended filmstrip–and whereas the typical photo can only suggest movement and speed, Dancing with the Woman in Red illustrates the motion and pace of the dancing through the elongation and dreamlike twisting of limbs.
Slaughter has worked in both the visual and performing arts and is currently the technical director of the Memorial Hall Auditorium at the Pratt Institute and is also the Media Specialist at Smack Mellon Studios in Brooklyn, NY. Slaughter’s Solo Exhibitions have included 1998’s SPACES Gallery Series of Intentions in Cleveland, OH; 2004’s Grand Projects Misunderstanding in New Haven, CT; a 2005 Exhibition in the Phoenix Gallery NY,NY, and 2008’s Smack Mellon Gallery Exhibition Oh Very Yes in Brooklyn, NY.
Slaughter will also be the featured speaker at the Museum’s Art Happy Hour, Thursday, Feb. 11, 2010, 5:30-7 p.m. Reception begins at 5:30 with the program at 6 p.m.