Nicki Stager

Artist Statement

In the darkroom I paint with light. There is no camera; rarely are there negatives. Over the past ten years I have been making images on the threshold between photography and painting, exploring light defined by line, space, form, and color. My specific intention is to create a space to manipulate light. That said, these spaces, perhaps because they sometimes include vaguely or even specifically recognizable objects and/or images, are rarely simply formal. They tend to have unique spacial and emotional interpretations based on the audience. The work begins as a 3″x 3″ unique chromogenic photographic print produced in the darkroom. They can be made only once, and are the originals for larger prints (c-prints) made by doing high resolution scans, which are eventually printed at 12″ x 12″ and 30″ x 30″.

Even more recently I have taken the photographs written about above and layered them both front and back with clear acrylic and epoxy in order to give the photograms more literal depth to encase tiny objects. These objects reference the light altering process I use to make the original photograph, but also serve as a distraction from true procedure. Often the object could have been used and sometimes even looks like a 2-dimensional part of the image, but is just a hint that may or may not be important in figuring out exactly how light was transformed while making the piece.

Also, in exploring process as concept, I’ve made the images much larger and have used them as studies for installation, performance, and video work. These abstractions of space and time have quite literally and figuratively added depth to the photographic process that I explore in the darkroom. Each seems to further exemplify the process in terms of the trace and has helped me identify why I have so obsessively created abstract photography for the past decade.