Ian Talbot: Retrospective – Grid Theory
Chapter IXX of the ongoing series Ian Talbot : Retrospective by British fine art photographer Ian Talbot.
© Ian Talbot
“The grid’s mythic power is that it makes us able to think we are dealing with materialism (or sometimes science, or logic) while at the same time it provides us with a release into belief (or illusion, or fiction)” Rosalind Krauss
The squared grid was the key to the Renaissance invention of linear perspective, the conceptual tool by which painters could represent an abstract model of the world. In more recent times the grid has been a dominant motif of Modern art, used both to explore the real and what is beyond and behind that reality. An example of this can be seen in the art of Piet Mondrian. For Mondrian the use of strict grids in his work served to demonstrate his rejection of mimesis.
For these image I have used the same motif and subject matter as I used in my “Sciagraphs” series, albeit for a different purpose and effect. In actual fact the individual images I have used pre date the “Sciagraphs” but were put to one side while I explored other possibilities and completed that particular series. I have returned to them here in order to look at the options that are opened up by the use of a stricter, and more restricted, precision imposed by the use of grids.
In keeping with the intent I have deliberately made these images sharp and precise, no blurs or movement here, although I have retained the use of shadows in some places to explore how they may soften and break up the austere effect of straight lines and strict grid patterns. The actual pattern used in the placement of the images in the piece is simple and rather trivial but serves to establish a rhythm within the piece as a whole that is instantly discernible. I may, in future pieces, explore greater complexities in the use of such elements and grid patterns.
With this work, as with much of my recent work, the aims are once again strictly formal. The use of grids can, of course, have implications for meaning but here the intent is purely visual. Any further meaning that may be discerned by the viewer, or rather I should say “projected” onto the piece, is completely unintended.
Text & image © Ian Talbot
Next : Chapter XX – Photogenic Drawing :: The Natural Order