COLE ROBERTSON

Portfolio

 

 

 

 

 

Statement

 

One should not look at anything. Neither at things, nor at people should one look. Only in mirrors is it well to look, for mirrors do but show us masks.

Oscar Wilde, Salome

 

I like photography—its histories, languages, and endless ability to move between genres, functionalities, and industries. I teach, write, work, play, curate, and create among this imagescape; through transmutation, alteration, animation, destruction, etc. I disrupt the transaction between viewer and image, hoping through visual disconnect to provoke analysis and hinder absorption.

 

The totality of my practice lies on the uneasy boundaries between aesthetic pleasure, pure scholarship, and pedagogy. That is to say, I try to communicate my ideas about photography—its histories, practices, and peculiarities—through multiple media.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

An ongoing (2012-present) body of work is Toward a unified field theory of photography. This site-specific installation functions as a mind map and a selective survey of my personal imagescape. Small prints are taped directly to the wall, with drawn lines and color-coded tape reflecting technical, formal, conceptual, or arbitrary connections between images. Some of these images are happenstance, created when I pause a DVD, while others are selected from an almost infinite continuum and deliberately recontextualized to create alternate realities. The series also includes image culture detritus like Facebook status updates, face tag prompts, etc.—moments of accidental juxtaposition that transcend their origins.

 

Dimensions: variable, generally 4x12’ minimum space is needed

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

These images represent a new (2015-present) project titled touch piece. An installation of small, Xerox-style prints of famous photographic child nudes laid out on a table, the images are screenprinted with thermochromic inks to disappear when handled and reappear when relinquished.

Dimensions: 4x6” each print, laid out on a 6’ table

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Saccade is a multidisciplinary work that uses the phenomenon of chronostasis (the “stopped clock” effect of rapid eye movement) and its relationship to the lingering male gaze of cinema and photography. This piece uses video gaming technology to track a viewer’s eye movements as s/he looks at a photograph; in this iteration, the viewer looks at the “false icon” of Marilyn Monroe in The Seven Year Itch, an image that doesn’t appear in its head-to-toe entirety in the film.

Dimensions: Variable and site-specific; installation consists of ~30x40” wall image, vision tracking glasses, CPU, and possibly projector.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Encompassing entropy, degradation, data loss, and class pictures, Generation is a side-by-side comparison of a mother and son's photographs running through a repeated image compression program. View here: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=25r0ktyLXhM

Dimensions: variable. Ideally, this piece would be small-scale on a computer.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Subject/object Relations (2011) is a photomontage of medical illustrations, as well as rumination on the power of looking. This piece can be installed as a large-scale flat print work or a paneled piece that pushes out into the viewer’s space.

Dimensions: 36x60” (panel iteration) or 84x96” (flat print iteration)

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

afterbefore (2010-13) is comprised of GIF animations. The source images are derived from low-end mail order catalogs, where before and after pictures encapsulate the hope of change, of evolution. When animated, tricks of lighting and image manipulation are revealed as the images toggle back and forth in an endless cycle of change and reversion. This project consists of lenticular animation prints and GIFs.

Dimensions: 36x36”

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

This image represents a small selection of an ongoing (2003-present) related project titled Cellmates, which is a carefully selected grouping of images hoarded on my cellphone camera.

Dimensions: 5x5” each, framed. Installation dimensions variable and site-specific.