Caleb Charland: Back to Light

Terminal 3

Jan 11, 2018 - Apr 19, 2018

Caleb Charland: Back to Light

Photography has been central to advancing scientific discovery and exploration since its invention in the 1820s. Beginning with the earliest photomicrographs made by Henry Fox Talbot (1800–77) in the 1830s, to the experiments of Eadweard Muybridge (1830–1904) capturing animals and humans in motion, the camera has long been a vital tool for documenting scientific experiments and revealing the unseen. Drawing inspiration from the long-standing intersection between photography and science, contemporary artist Caleb Charland creates large-scale photographs that meditate on the fundamental forces of nature. Often utilizing common experiments as subject matter, his images evoke a sense of wonder and awe as they revisit the well-tested laws of science.

The series title, Back to Light, speaks to Charland’s fascination with the transfer of energy and the many forms it can take. In this case, he references a cycle whereby sunlight is absorbed by plants and trees to generate nutrients that facilitate the release of energy between electrodes, transferring it back to visible light. In this series, Charland expands upon a classic grade-school science experiment—the potato battery. By inserting a galvanized nail and copper wire into various types of fruit and vegetables, he draws a small electrical current to power LED fixtures. Working on a much larger scale than most classroom experiments, Charland creates sculptural installations that generate enough power to illuminate long-exposure photographs made in total darkness.

Caleb Charland is a Maine-based artist and photographer. He earned a BFA in photography from Massachusetts College of Art in Boston in 2004, and an MFA from the School of the Art Institute of Chicago as a Trustees Fellow in 2010. His photographs have been featured in publications including The New Yorker, The Wall Street Journal, WIRED, and Collector Daily, among others. Charland’s work has been exhibited nationally and internationally at venues including the New Mexico Museum of Art in Santa Fe, New Mexico; RISD Art Museum in Providence, Rhode Island; Centro de Arte Dos de Mayo in Madrid, Spain; and Sasha Wolf Gallery in New York. His photographs are held in numerous institutional and corporate collections including the Smithsonian American Art Museum, the Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Progressive Collection, and the Dow Jones collection. In 2012, Charland was nominated for PDN’s 30 New and Emerging Photographers to Watch, and in 2016 he was awarded a Pollock-Krasner Foundation Grant.

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