Meggan Gould’s unique vision(s): see one at Space Gallery…
Viewfinder 5©Meggan Gould. All Rights Reserved
Space Gallery on Congress St. in Portland has created a great new gallery space and the current show is Blind Spots: New work by Meggan Gould and Billie Mandle. (Gould’s work is offered through VoxPhotographs, in the interest of full disclosure.)
The show and the space are a terrific marriage as the lofty ceilings and industrial feel to the gallery bring out the best in the works on view. The big images by Mandle of parking garages hold their own here beautifully, and Gould’s face-mounted viewfinder portraits just glow. (To read a complete review that includes discussion of Mandle’s images, see Dan Kany’s insights in the 4/22 Maine Sunday Telegram.)
If you haven’t heard of Meggan Gould, click here to get educated as she’s building an impressive national reputation for her work. What you’ll see on this VoxPhotographs Artist News page is just what she’s up to in May. I’m not sure she’s appreciated here in Maine the way she should be.
Gould never takes the easy road. She created her GO OGLE series, sample below, by “averaging,” or merging, the first 100 images retrieved from a specific Google image search. A code was written that did it mathematically, averaging the size and then the pixel values. She didn’t just “try” twenty or so of these – she made 1000′s, eventually editing this mass of work down to several hundred she considers successful.
GO OGLE/Brain©Meggan Gould. All Rights Reserved
In her PINHOLE series, Gould made digital pinhole photographs while driving or riding on a train mostly in New England – quite the multi-tasking challenge. She wanted to record what she had zipped by regularly without taking it in – and it’s a terrific, challenging and complete series. She says: “I was interested in looking at the aesthetics of transition – of being in motion, and observing the classic points of landscape streaming by me. In this case I was driving through familiar (daily commute) territory, looking at the highway spaces but aware I could not always be actively engaged with them. The pinhole aspect allowed me to further abstract this peripheral vision, by necessitating longer shutter speeds.”
Pinhole Series/Train 11.2©Meggan Gould. All Rights Reserved
Back to the Viewfinder series on view at Space Gallery – who would have thought these little manufactured camera parts would have such unique personalities? Yes, each manufacturer has its own specific design with unique (and often enigmatic, Gould says) marks, but what happens to it over the life of the camera in the hands of possibly several owners is what dictates the unique personality of scratches, dust, hair and other detritus. With Single Lens Reflex cameras, this is how we saw the world for soooo long, but what happens when our vision stops with the viewfinder instead of traveling through and beyond? Gould asked herself. So, as per her habit, she set out to find the answer with her camera.
The Viewfinder series was selected as second place Curator’s Choice winner in the Santa Fe CENTER competition, and included in the May 26 opening of Second Nature: Abstract Photography Then and Now at the De Cordova Sculpture Park and Museum in Lincoln, MA. Viewfinder is another very challenging project and Gould says “I shoot these with crazy macro extensions, and usually have to digitally composite them together, as more often than not I have to take multiple photographs to capture one, because of the tiny focusing area.” Isn’t being a fine art photographer about stretching your vision, your ability and the technology available? Gould does it in spades with each new body of work.
Viewfinder #13©Meggan Gould. All Rights Reserved
The presentation of her work at Space Gallery is second only to the images themselves, and her choice to have Keith Fitzgerald at Zero Station face-mount all of these behind plexi is inspired and completes the vision, as more photographers need to understand. Not only does Meggan Gould serve as an inspiring role model to the young photographers she teaches at Bowdoin, but to photographers at all levels she provides an example of how important quality and thoughtful presentation is to any exhibition of her unique visions.