Dan Powell Pattern Seekers
Fine Art Photograph Collections
Dan Powell: Pattern Seekers series
Black & white negatives, hand marked and colored prints, 1980-82
This series was begun the first year that I started teaching at Iowa. I wanted to continue in the direction of the flow charts and this work was a continuation of those concerns, except that it was somewhat more autobiographical. The images reached an apex of complexity of signs and information with images like 'sports page', and 'emotional travel'. (As a child I loved Highlight magazines and finding all the animals or objects carefully camouflaged within an extremely complex scene). Also, the information I used was more a personal response to being in a new location with new vernacular signals that I became enamored with, such as the TV weather report in a very cold location ("Iowa Weather), and the daily hog reports where phrases like interior and exterior hogs, hog bellies, were used. I began using rubber stamps on occasion on surface of prints, which I used throughout the '80s in studio work. I also chose words to expose their double meanings at times, such as in "Aero/Arrow". Sewing patterns were used on occasion as subject and information, as a different kind of mapping and graphing device.
I became interested also in creating a comparison of the language and images from sports and the military ('Sports Page", and others), a somewhat cynical response to a leisure culture with a vast and commanding war machine. Flight maps were sometimes used as a signifying background. The work was playful, as were the Flow Charts, but often with a somewhat menacing quality underneath. The individual pieces in this series were more grounded in some kind of personal or political response than the flow charts. The last images made within this series, the long ones done with a 6x9 cm camera, were drifting away from the rest of the series, and only 5 or 6 were made. The techniques and processes used in Pattern Seekers were identical to Flow Charts, with the addition of the use of rubber stamps.
Image shown: The image shown above is "Pattern Seekers #1," 1981, a black and white image with markings in pencil, rubber stamp, oil and acrylic paints, from the Pattern Seekers
series, Dan Powell photograph collection, PH297_PS_01, Special
Collections and University Archives, University of Oregon, Eugene,
Oregon 97403-1299. All rights are reserved.