Wright State University: Gallery 263 at the Robert and Elaine Stein Galleries
Works of Fire: Photographs by Christopher Colville
Christopher Colville’s unique photographic prints both abstract and represent a discernible natural world. Through the ignition of gunpowder directly on the surface of gelatin silver paper, a combination of light, heat, energy, and force generate fixed depictions of chemical reactions. Colville also arranges found objects from the Sonoran Desert and places them in contact with the photographic paper and gunpowder. These objects, often artifacts once used for target practice, become stencils—pieces of scrap metal, paper targets, and miscellaneous personal items. Once ignited, they leave an outlined ghostly trace of their original form.
The inherent qualities of Colville’s photographs imitate a microcosmic “Big Bang,” creating something unpredictable and celestial in nature. While often meditative and quiet, his work alludes to questions concerning our place in the midst of an infinite universe. The images also explore the fragile outcome of fleeting violence and destruction. Colville observes that his work embodies “fear and wonder through [the] transformative powers of photography.”
Colville’s handling of photographic materials and unconventional processes offers the viewer a distinct perspective on the photographic image. We are witness to alternative ways in which the photograph can be fabricated, and challenged by the indelible and evocative nature of the subject matter.