When I look into the night sky I am awestruck by the darkness that is the universe. As the sparse light of the stars descends, I am entangled in the grace of wonder, searching for a better understanding of who I am and where I fit in to this world. Carl Sagan wrote, “…the universe is mainly made of nothing, something is the exception. Nothing is the rule. That darkness is commonplace; it is light that is the rarity.” This sense of wonder cast by light in the otherwise impenetrable darkness is a driving force behind this current work.
Works of Fire was born out of a fascination with the dual nature of creation and destruction that generates this rare light. Each image in this series is made by igniting a small portion of gunpowder on the surface of silver gelatin paper. In the resulting explosion, light and energy abrade and burn the surface while simultaneously exposing the light-sensitive silver emulsion. I loosely control the explosion by placing objects on the paper’s surface, but the results are often surprising and unpredictable as the explosive energy of gunpowder is the true generative force creating the image. These fire prints visually reference celestial events, the residue of both creation and obliteration, generated from a single spark.
Christopher Colville is an artist working to push the boundaries of the photographic medium in both experimental and traditional forms. Born in 1974 in Tucson Arizona Christopher received his BFA in Anthropology and Photography from Washington University in St. Louis, Missouri and his MFA in Photography from the University of New Mexico. After leaving New Mexico, he returned home to the Sonoran Desert and is currently living in Phoenix. Chris has spent his time in Phoenix exploring the desert where he has taught at multiple institutions.
Christopher’s work has been included in both national and international publications and exhibition. Recent awards include the Ernst Cabat Award through the Tucson Museum of Art, Critical Mass top 50, the Humble Art Foundations New Photography Grant, an Arizona Commission on the Arts Artist Project Grant, a Public Art Commission from the Phoenix Commission on the Arts and an artist fellowship through the American Scandinavian Foundation. Christopher’s work has been reviewed in national and international publications including the L.A. Times, the Boston Globe and GUP Magazine and Vice.
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