The Robin Rice Gallery is pleased to present Lance W Clayton's photographic exhibition. The opening reception will be held on Wednesday, March 19, from 5:30 – 8:30 pm. The show will run through April 27, 2014.
In this exhibition, Clayton's aquatic, figurative photographs contain an attention to detail that leaves the viewer constantly discovering new information within them. His oblique compositions are a profusion of the quirky, the surreal, and the ambiguous, all of which are permeated by a haunting presence. Rather than presenting a factual reality, an illusion is fabricated to conjure the realms of our imagination.
Upon entering the gallery, the viewer is confronted with the artist's enigmatic large-scale black & white and color photographs. The crisp blue color found below the chair rail of the white gallery walls is intended to simulate a pool, and thus becomes an extension of the artist's nostalgic themes in his work.
The invitational image, Swim, is an illustrative shot of a man doing the butterfly stroke, his back to the viewer with arms powerfully extended across the frame, as if to embrace the open, infinite sky above him. The grainy quality of the piece is created using a dark room technique in which tissue is layered upon the photograph, creating an allover ethereal atmosphere reminiscent of Edward Steichen's early work.
Another image, Rungs, photographed in Lake Okeechobee, Florida, shows a rusty silver pool ladder descending into a vista of midnight blue water. The highlights and reflections in the water, however, resemble the night sky and thereby disorient the viewer's perspective. The piece entitled Kim, Orem, Utah expresses some of Clayton's more hauntingly sensual themes. The photograph displays a woman floating in a pool, her darkly lit face above the water and her serpentine body below. The sinister, yet lyrical, mood of the photograph is largely emblematic of the entire collection exhibited.
Clayton's inspiration is primarily grounded in dreams, with references to notable artists such as Diane Arbus, George Hurrell, and Duane Michaels. The artist cites The Photographic Illusion: Duane Michaels as a notable influence, propelling his aesthetic of creating worlds rather than capturing moments.
Clayton is a native of Logan, Utah. A self-taught commercial photographer by trade, Clayton began photography in his adolescent years "to pass the time," which then evolved into his first job at the age of twenty processing film and printing black & white photographs for a commercial photographer. After a stint as a photo assistant in New York, Clayton returned to Utah, building a portfolio while working with publications such as Time, Newsweek, The New York Times, and Grazia.
After several group shows, this is Clayton's first solo show at the Robin Rice Gallery.