Director's Choice - Eckert: "Still Life with Cherries Suspended"
Still Life with Cherries Suspended
Media: Salt Print
Size: 12” x 11”
Mitch Eckert is an award-winning artist whose work has been exhibited nationally and internationally and has been included in a variety of publications from textbooks to journals. After earning his B.F.A. in photography and sculpture from the Herron School of Art Mitch Eckert received an M.F.A from Ohio University where he focused on photography, printmaking and art history. His photographic exploration is vast and varied. His choice of camera’s range from using homemade pinhole cameras, Holga, Diana and view cameras as well as iPhone and professional grade DSLR’s. His technical knowledge of photography is well rooted in photography’s rich historic processes including his masterful works in kallitype. For Mitch the camera and process need to have a good marriage with concept and content. His exploration in the genre of still life has been ongoing for the past 25 years while his more recent works made within formal and botanic gardens and natural history museums have captured his attention for the past 10 years. His work is held in the collections of 21c Museum, Butler Institute of American Art, Indianapolis Museum of Art, the Photographic Archives at the University of Louisville and Swope Museum of Art. Mitch Eckert currently lives and works in Louisville Kentucky where he is an associate professor of art at the University of Louisville.
I have been arranging and photographing still-lifes for many years now, drawing inspiration from Dutch painters whose arrangements were of imagined sumptuous feasts or whatever was lying around their more humble kitchens. My salted paper prints are likewise comprised of objects found in my kitchen, including the plastic containers used to store and ship luscious fruits to my local big box grocery store. And if the Dutch could imagine a feast of improbably paired foods or flowers, I could gather out of season fruit by visiting the artificial foods aisle at the craft store. Dutch still-lifes resonate with momento mori or reminders of death; the fallen flower petal, an otherwise perfect but bruised grape. These Styrofoam foods and even the niche I constructed from packing materials have life spans far greater than any human, reminders of our imminent deaths and that of our planet.
The images were captured digitally with a negative produced using an inkjet printer to make contact prints in the traditional salted paper process by applying a silver nitrate sensitizer to Hahnemuhle Platinum Rag paper soaked in a gelatin sizing solution with ammonium chloride. Prints were toned in gold toner for archival permanence and for its tonal enhancement. The choice in printing these particular images in the salted paper process offers a dialogue between the organic nature of the process with the inorganic subject matter.