Elemental Exposures

THIS ESSAY HAS BEEN PUBLISHED IN THE JANUARY 2017 ISSUE OF ACES MAGAZINE

On view in the Museum Store exhibition space of the Islip Art Museum is Elemental Exposures, a solo exhibition featuring a selection of abstract photographs by Scott Farrell. For Farrell, photography provides an artist the ability to capture the veracity of an object, while also allowing that artist the opportunity to create abstract representations of his or her subject matter. Although his photographs in this exhibition are abstract representations of real world objects and natural landscapes, Farrell is concerned with capturing the integrity of his subject matter through the object’s texture, tone, lighting and compositional arrangement within the camera lens.

Farrell’s images are not digitally manipulated, but by removing the notion of setting through an elaborate technique of cropping and framing, the artist abstracts his images while challenging the viewer to determine and interpret what he or she is observing. The photograph Antediluvian 3513 is one such example of this technique. The image appears to render a frozen body of water of which the sheet of ice has fragmented and fractured throughout the composition. The cool palette of the photograph shifts from a pale, white-blue hue, as seen in the bottom left-hand corner of the composition, to a deeply rich dark-blue that is found in the top right-hand section. The color scheme and almost metal appearance of the body of water could easily lead the viewer to determine that, on first glance, he or she is examining a detail of a metallic surface or some other reflective object.

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Scott Farrell, Antediluvian 3513, 2015

Farrell turns to nature for his abstract revelations. His artwork emphasizes his subject matter’s exposure to the elemental forces of nature over a period of time. Another work in the exhibition, Great Plains Genesis 3104, is the artist’s abstract representation of the formation and evolution of the Great Plains and grasslands of the American Mid-West. Four-fifths of the photograph is composed of a pale, concrete sky consisting of white, brown, and blue-ish hues, which has chipped, cracked, and eroded over time. The lower fifth of the composition comprises of a rust-brown earth color that offers a nice juxtaposition against the pale, craquelure-like surface of the section above. By focusing on the fractures in the surface of his subject matter, Farrell invites the viewer to contemplate the causes of these reactions, whether they are natural or man-made.

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Scott Farrell, Great Plains Genesis 3104, 2015

Through light refractions, Farrell turns his attention to the cosmos. Supernova 1723 is the artist’s abstraction representation of the stars and other interstellar bodies that occupy the Universe. The image captures refractions of light, emitted by the sun, as seen off the pond waters of Cape Cod. The sunlight reflect and dance off the water as shadows are cast and seen through the crystal, clear surface onto the sea floor. Although the artist turns his lens away from the sky, Farrell reminds the viewer that forces outside the Earth’s atmosphere have a great influence on shaping its environment.

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Scott Farrell, Supernova 1723, 2015

Scott Farrell is a fine arts photographer from Long Island, NY. His subject matter varies from natural and urban landscapes to abstraction. Since 2012, his artwork has been exhibited across Long Island, including select exhibitions at the North Shore Arts Guild in Port Jefferson, Southampton Cultural Center in Southampton, and Alex Ferrone Photography Gallery in Cutchogue, amongst others. He is an active member of the Huntington Arts Council, East End Arts, and East End Photographers Group.

Museum Curatorial & Exhibitions Assistant/Jr. Curator Eric Murphy curated Elemental Exposures. The exhibition is the result of Slide Slam 2016, an Islip Art Museum initiative that invited artists to present and discuss their artwork with an audience of artists, curators, and other arts professionals. Farrell, among a select group of artists, was invited to exhibit his artwork in a solo exhibition at the Islip Art Museum in 2017. The exhibition runs in conjunction with the museum’s main exhibition, The Structure of Things, curated by Beth Giacummo. Both exhibitions are on display at the Islip Art Museum from January 15 to March 12, 2017 with a reception on January 28, from 7 – 10 PM.

Jay Schuck

Image Credits
All images courtesy of the Islip Art Museum
© Scott Farrell

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