Tuesday, January 17, 2017

Artist Spotlight: Tom Wheeler's Light Lab 2017 - Route 395

Tom Wheeler, Red Fence Alabama HillsArchival pigment on cotton fiber, 26 x 36"
Light Lab 2017 - Route 395 is Tom Wheeler’s foray into location-focused series work for the first time, while continuing to refine his now familiar and unique style of long-exposure painted-light photography. This magnificent highway is one of the most scenic stretches of road in California and seems an inevitable fit for Wheeler’s pension for grand, sweeping landscapes and dramatic backdrops for his long-exposure nighttime work. He has specialized in painted-light photography for decades now, and demonstrates a mastery of the craft in his most recent show. 
Tom Wheeler, Abstract #2 Along Dolomite Road, Archival pigment on cotton fiber, 36 x 26"
Wheeler’s previous body of work, Light Lab 2016, showcased experimental techniques in a small series of lighted box imagery in the California desert. Light Lab 2017 - Route 395 is a continuation of this work, which generally entails the use of hand-held light tools and translucent experimental props, often using a minimalist style of a brightly lit subject among a vast landscape. Wheeler does not create images in post-production or with Photoshop, but instead opts for lugging all the necessary tools and equipment out into the wilderness to wholly create his stunning imagery at the time of exposure. 
Tom Wheeler, Cube #7Archival pigment on cotton fiber, 26 x 36"
In Light Lab 2017 - Route 395, Wheeler has once again created cutting-edge imagery as he continues to break across new boundaries in the night-photography genre. He spent a week traveling without a schedule, scouting locations by day and shooting images at night, sometimes until 4am, living out of his car, his tent, and the campy little motels along the way. 
Tom Wheeler, Fully LitArchival pigment on cotton fiber, 26 x 36"
Route 395 offered Wheeler the ultimate in outdoor studio settings: from vast meadows buttressing the tallest peaks in the continental U.S, to the ancient bristlecone pines 9000 feet up in those mountains. He explored hundreds of miles of back-roads, discovering abandoned 19th century mining encampments and various locations that offered dramatic sections of the famous aqueduct to Los Angeles. 
Tom Wheeler, ATV Party, USA, Jawbone CanyonArchival pigment on cotton fiber, 36 x 26"
This exhibition of awe-inducing work is truly a cross-section of the life and scenery of this magical and desolate part of the state. With images spanning only a few sections of this vast road stretching north and south through most of the state, Wheeler assures us that this is merely “Part 1” of Route 395.

Light Lab 2017 - Route 395 is on exhibit until January 21.

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