Dan Powell Studio A
Fine Art Photograph Collections
Dan Powell: Studio A series
8x10 color contact prints, 1982-83
In 1982-83 I secured a leave of absence from my teaching position at The University of Northern Iowa in order to travel to Europe for two months (my first European trip) and then live the rest of the year, from September 1982 to August 1983, in New York City. This series, and the Studio B series, were created during this time in New York. Both of these series were shot on an old 8x10 Kodak D camera that was given to me by my first photography teacher, Jim Sahlstrand, from Central Washington University in Ellensburg. They were created in the warehouse/loft space that we lived and worked in in Brooklyn.
The Studio A series was primarily a formal investigation that utilized as subject matter the materials that I had been using previous to this in series such as The Letter and Pattern Seekers. Large pieces of paper with writing, marks, and images, the walls themselves that were often marked upon, canvas and material backdrops and awnings, a floor with splattered paint, dead and dying flowers from a local flower shop, color tape, and all sorts of materials that were hanging around in a loft that was populated by four artists, were employed. It was the first work I had done with the 8x10 view camera and the images, and my vision, was very influenced by this new tool. To look into this 8x10 ground glass and see the image there upside down is a beautiful thing, mesmerizing, and leads one to a very formal way of seeing. This work follows The Letter series which was also formally oriented, as well as expressionist in nature, and marked a profound change from the packed and dense display of subject matter that characterized previous series. Studio A and Studio B series were both oriented more toward space and a sense of studio or environment, with sparsely laid out objects operating in the frame, heavily dependent on vantage point of the camera, depth of field, careful foreground and background orientation, and conscious placement of materials. Color itself was certainly a major factor in this series.
These series both existed only as 8x10 contact prints and were never enlarged. The printing of Studio A series took place in Syracuse, New York while I was an artist in residence at Lightwork in August of 1983. The title of these series reflects an ambition to create different studio series that ran the gamut of the alphabet, which I soon abandoned in favor of more expressionist headings as my work changed.