MAIN GALLERY: 9.1.07-10.12.07
Brenton Hamilton is a visual artist and historian of photography who lives and works on the coast of Maine. Hamilton, a master of the 1840’s cyanotype process, chooses this antique medium to render his one-of-a-kind dream-like visions into an equally unique and intense hue, mirroring the ocean outside his studio window and the blue-black depths of the night sky in Maine.
With a palette that finds its corollary in Renaissance painting, Hamilton combines human anatomy, astronomy, and botanical imagery to create intriguing and provocative arrangements. Referring to ancient Greece and Rome, as well as 15th and 16th century Netherlandish and Italian paintings, Hamilton appropriates symbols and visual elements from the history of art to arrive at a thoroughly contemporary vision.
Many of the works are further embellished with layers of white gouache, silver leaf or gum Arabic washes, adding layers of complexity that blur boundaries between painting and photography. Indeed Hamilton’s work is an astonishing hybrid of media and a bridge between antique and postmodern that may defy classification.
Naomi Vanderkindren acknowledges the inherent power of images to transform identities, even memories themselves. But her images are not attempts to reconstruct the past through historic process. In contrast, these images disregard true experience and supplant history. Like their nineteenth-century counterparts, her tintypes are mementos that both record and distort. Their suggestive power constructs a new past, a surrogate for a history that seems somehow too complex and just beyond her reach. They have become the material form of memories that are entirely uncertain. In this way, “Of a Certain Place” refers not exclusively to a particular geographic place, filled with relics of the past, but also one existing in the imagined geography of memory.