April Friges was born in Cleveland, Ohio, and in 2010 received her MFA in studio art from The University of California, Irvine. Her work has been shown in galleries and museums such as LAXART, Los Angeles, CA (2010); Autonomie, Los Angeles, CA
(2011); The Spencer Museum of Art, Lawrence, KS (2012); The Printed Matter, New York, NY (2013); MOCAD, Detroit, MI (2013); Sculpture X, Columbus, OH (2013); ForYourArt, Los Angeles, CA (2014); 20 Jay St, Brooklyn, NY, (2014); and FilterSpace, Chicago, Ill (2015). Friges lives and works in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania, where she is the Assistant Professor of the BFA Photography program at Point Park University. Her newest work, Untitled Color, was featured in PhAb Now! at the PFPCA (Pittsburgh Center for the Arts), Pittsburgh, PA, featuring photographic abstraction, and will also be on view in the Geometry in the Expanded Field, a small group exhibition at Fine Art Complex 1011, in Tempe, Arizona.
Why do you photograph on film?
My art practice is about looking at photographic conventions and creating alternate methods by blurring the boundaries of digital and analog media. I consider how the ideology of photography range in definition from person to person, and how that
translation differs today in both physical and immaterial form. The works I create are not from a camera; I choose to work in the darkroom with only photosensitive paper and light to construct a more complex and imaginary language of the mediums explored.
What is your work about?
In my previous body of work, Spectator (Selected Works 2012-2014), I address the medium of photography and its classification as a two-dimensional art form, which comprise of large-scale (50 inches x 8 to 50 feet), unique, black and white gelatin silver prints. I experiment with process in the darkroom, and manipulate the paper to construct three-dimensional sculpted works that examine the intersection between image and object. I utilize the gallery lighting to create additional forms on the reflective surface of the photographic paper. The pockets of highlights and shadows that result add to or contradict the shapes of the image already created, which depends on how the paper is sculpted. When the artwork is taken down from the gallery walls at the end of the exhibition, it is re-flattened. Subsequently, the sculptured image created will have a new form every time it is shown. This work questions the far too common two-dimensionality of photography and the constrained square frame that we have come to define as the medium. There is a gray area created between photography and sculpture that is left to the viewer to determine where the work belongs. The title Spectator is not just about looking at the work. Perhaps the art objects themselves could be considered witness to the act of looking at photography as a genre in the contemporary art world. The pieces could therefore be the spectators that question how a photograph is now defined.
In my most recent experimentation I continue to work with traditional photography, more specifically, the color photogram because of its ʻone of a kindness.ʼ The works are built upon the fundamental properties of light, the most prevalent element with which we interact and are defined by; embracing the phenomena of reciprocity, reflection, refraction, inversion and absorption onto the medium. Continuity and composition are established through the direct impact of purely optical laws and visual principles. The shapes on the paper are mixed primary tones of subtractive and additive colors shone through transparent gels equivalent to that of the darkroom’s dichroic enlarger head, which become inversed onto light-sensitive paper upon exposure.