Dan Powell Chart of Brief Forms
Fine Art Photograph Collections
Dan Powell: Chart of Brief Forms series
Black & white negatives, hand marked and colored prints, 1987-1990
This series of work was made with both 4x5 and 2 1/4" black and white negatives, and printed at various sizes. I used type 55 Polaroid pos/neg film for the 4x5s, which accounts for the continuation of image at the print edges. Type 55 produces an extension of the image, and the various lines, marks, and dots that are found on all edges of the print. Some of the images are sepia toned, and all of them have marks or hand coloring applied to the surface of the print. Marks and hand coloring are made mostly with colored and graphite pencils of various sort, and occasionally with photo oils.
The Chart of Brief Forms series utilizes both three-dimensional objects as well as photocopies of images, which together are composed for the camera. The imagery varies a great deal, but most have a reference to medicine or medical practices, and often there are references to historical practices in medicine. Within this, there is a sense of altar or reliquary which runs through much of the work, as if combining contemporary medical practices with alchemy or magic. I am interested in the cross cultivation of symbols in the work, the fish as an early religious symbol, scientific glass slides, writing, vein-like plant forms, swimmers (as blood cells in transmission), music (rhythm), and others. Some of these symbols are classical and others are personal. Much of the work has a still life sensibility, other pieces are edge to edge information, reminiscent of the way the Flow Chart series was composed. Often frosted Mylar was used between objects or layers of image and text which created a translucent quality to the images. Delicate pencil work on surface of print was very important to the strength of images in this series.
This work was a purging process that resulted from a serious illness which befell me in l987. The chain of events which developed through the process of being cured, left me with the distinct feeling that fate was as important to this cure as contemporary medicine. From an incorrect diagnosis to an eventual serious operation, only five weeks transpired, but the experience has left me forever humbled in the face of chance.
Image shown: The image shown above is "Chart of Brief Forms #11," 1992, a sepia-toned photographic collage of woodcut prints and plant materials from the Chart of Brief Forms series, Dan Powell photograph collection, PH297_CB_11, Special Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene, Oregon 97403-1299. All rights are reserved.