Selected works by Mariah Robertson

Mariah Robertson
62

2010

Unique colour print on metallic paper

61 x 116.2 cm

When do the rules that govern photography actually limit creativity?, asks Mariah Robertson, who “likes to find the point at which the little mediocre photographer [in me] gets its feathers ruffled”. Who said a print had to meekly accept being confined to a frame? Why can’t it ripple along a floor, up a wall and across a ceiling? Why does photographic paper have to be cut here and not there, especially if “the rough edges turned out to be the best part”? As for what gets to go onto that paper, Robertson admits to being strongly attracted to photography’s “alternative historical processes from photography’s shadowy beginnings with Victorian chemical hobbyists”, noting that this experimental urge continues unabated through the mid-20th century. She’s got the bug, too: in the camera or in the darkroom, in black and white or colour, Robertson cheerfully ignores standard procedures and welcomes accidents. Solarizations and photograms in the Man Ray mode, irregular chemical reactions, negative collage, games with filters, etc, etc… Spontaneous combustion seems as good a strategy as any when you are practicing alchemy.
As for what’s pictured, Robertson likes to confound figuration with abstraction. Her Nude with Afghani Export Rug seems like a pretty formal study of a male body until one looks a little more closely at the décor and notices that the pleasing, abstract pattern is actually composed of helicopters, AK-47s and tanks – big toys for big boys. Robertson’s abstraction can pack quite a punch.

Mariah Robertson
63

2010

Unique colour print on metallic paper

147.3 x 111.8 cm
Mariah Robertson
45

2010

Unique colour print on metallic paper

142.2 x 203.2 cm
Mariah Robertson
88

2010

Unique photographic print on an entire roll of glossy archival paper

76.2 x 3,048 cm (Length of paper)
Mariah Robertson
Nude with Afghani Export Rug

2007

Silver gelatin print

20.3 x 25.4 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude (Double Floral)

2007

Silver gelatin print

27.9 x 35.6 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude (Knit)

2007

Silver gelatin print

20.3 x 25.4 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude (Odonata)

2007

Silver gelatin print

10.1 x 12.7 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude

2007

Silver gelatin print

27.9 x 35.6 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude With Plant

2007

Silver gelatin print

40.6 x 50.8 cm
Mariah Robertson
Collage 3

2007

Silver gelatin print

25.4 x 25.4 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Self Portrait 1

2007

Silver gelatin print

40.6 x 50.8 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude 2

2007

Silver gelatin print

21.6 x 27.3 cm
Mariah Robertson
Collage 9

2007

Silver gelatin print

26.7 x 45.7 cm
Mariah Robertson
El Bosco

2007

Silver gelatin print

40.6 x 50.8 cm
Mariah Robertson
Untitled Nude 3

2007

Silver gelatin print

25.4 x 20.3 cm
Mariah Robertson
Nu Au Mirroir

2007

Silver gelatin print

50.8 x 40.6 cm
Mariah Robertson
Found Self Portrait, Modified

2007

Silver gelatin print

80 x 96.5 cm
Mariah Robertson
Gladiola Window RGB #1

2007

C-print

50.8 x 61 cm
Mariah Robertson
Gladiola Window RGB #3

2007

C-print

50.8 x 61 cm
Mariah Robertson
Moon Crosses Sun Roscolux

2007

C-print

76.2 x 101.6 cm
Mariah Robertson
Pool Water 3

2007

C-print

50.8 x 61 cm

Text by William A Ewing


Articles

CYNTHIA LEUNG TALKS TO MARIAH ROBERTSON


Cynthia Leung: Your 2006 show Please Lie Down and Take a Nap With Me in My Grave was all color photographs, eerie because of their content: landscapes both beautiful and mundane. They read like experiments in nature photography or thoughts on suburban nature. On one hand you had dark images swimming pools, kitchen lights, and a hot pink field of palm trees; on the other hand there were exquisite 'nature' images in works like Sun Traveling Past Tree or Winter Solstice. As these works are totally devoid of humans, there's a sense of melancholy. What do you hope to convey in the photographs and what do you feel 'comes back' in these landscapes?

Mariah Robertson: I would say that I'm not trying to convey anything by the images themselves-that these are the few plucked from the many results generated by simple processes. These processes being limitations, to use certain techniques and equipment that you could classify as old, antiquated, sub-professional, and importantly from the an age of extinction: films, chemistries, and equipment are being discontinued. Even Kodak stopped making black-and-white paper. Other companies like Fuji and Ilford have pledged to never stop making certain products, but it's a dire situation. It's like standing on the polar ice cap watching it melt around you.

CL: And the idea of an already-dead practice carries over into the title, as if photography was speaking from the grave
MR: That was the idea when I began the 'Grave Nap' series of photos. They are inspired by the 'pro-sumer' level of literature, and 'how-to' photography books of the 70s and 80s, a pre-Photoshop time. There is a great level of ingenuity and homemade-ness even on the part of professionals doing editorial work.

Source: nyartsmagazine.com