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APG Gallery Exhibits 2013

Photo by Robert Asman

Concept and Process

The concept behind these works is not dissimilar to primitive man's attempt at figurative art making in his sacred caves and grottoes. The idea of "excavations" comes from both the process and the metaphor used in making these silver prints. With the crafting of a mythology involving a human post-apocalyptic scenario, I had the archeological vision of embedded bodies/figures being excavated in the future by explorers or myth seekers from other tribes and whereabouts... and with imagination, myself in the darkroom cave.

The process I am working with entails making a paper negative (calotype) directly from 4x5" camera or contact of a small 4x5" positive print. Paper from the negative is peeled, scratched, sanded, cut away; sometimes stapled and taped back together before being placed into a 4x5" negative carrier of the enlarger and projected onto 20x24" silver, black and white photo paper. The paper is printed high key and then selenium toned for archival and enriching purposes. This work has no digital or algorithmic component and could be made without electricity as long as there is a light and dark source, water, chemistry, optics/physics, batteries, and the human's five senses, curiosity, and instincts for internal exploration.

These, like all my work of the last 30 years, is not editioned; although I do produce variations at times of similar images in regard to technique, chemistry, paper, and texture.


Post-Apocalyptic Excavations
By Robert Asman


Opening: Friday June 28, 2013 - 7:30 p.m.

Show Dates: June 28 - August 24, 2013

Artist Biography

For most of the last thirty-five years, Robert Asman has been devoted to investigating and stretching the conceptual and technical boundaries of silver prints. As an alchemist of the dark room, Asmanís creations come to form in the darkroom through the boundless manipulation of paper negatives and chemicals. His explorations and technique bind human form, urbanism and nature. Asman approaches art making as a transformative process, in which he mines the physical properties of his materials to create a work on paper in which process and image are one.

Robert was born in Washington, D.C. where he received a BA from Catholic University in 1973 and an MFA from the renowned photography program at the Rochester Institute of Technology, Rochester, NY in 1975. After a brief return to Washington, Asman lived for thirty years in Philadelphia where he taught photography at Moore College of Art & Design, Drexel University, the University of the Arts and the University of Pennsylvania. Asman has received multiple honors throughout his career, such as a Fellowship from the Pennsylvania Council on the Arts and a Pew Fellowship in the Arts. His work has been exhibited in solo and group exhibitions both nationally and internationally, including at the Institute of Contemporary Art in Philadelphia and at Galerie Paviot in Paris. Asmanís work can also be found in numerous permanent collections, including The Philadelphia Museum of Art, The Library of Congress in Washington, D.C., and the Smithsonian American Art Museum in Washington, D.C.

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