Constructed Realities


Orlando Museum of Art, 2003


Sue Scott


The myriad possibilities of film and photography fascinate David Haxton. In the mid-'70s, he was among the first artists of his generation to create a "stage." Which he then photographed. However, his interests are more formal than narrative- that is, they are more about capturing the effects of light and shadow rather than conveying a story. He fabricates scenes, such as Sunlight on White Through White with Light Stands, 1981, using the equipment of the photographer- light stands, electrical cords and photographic backdrop paper, which in some cases has been gouged and torn. The scenes can be read as self-referential; the presence of the artist is left, though not seen. These photographs combine abstract qualities of light, color and composition that come out of a long tradition of abstraction (one critic compared the work to a mark Rothko painting) with a personal statement. The viewer has been invited into the studio and if the artist has exited, the residue of his creative process remains.

"These works have to do with Process Art, Abstract Expressionism and Marcel Duchamp's conceptualism," observed Haxton. Just as Abstract Expressionism is about the paint, these works are about the photograph itself. The process of making the photograph is revealed. I see the use of primary materials in my photographs – the backdrop paper for instance – like Pollock used paint. The materials I use in the set are found, not constructed.

Exhibition curated by Sue Scott