Lycan’s project is driven by dynamics of exchange and transformation through the mediating effects of technology and environment. Embedded within her work are layers of negotiation; one translation after another contains the potential for a virtually infinite number of abstractions. This approach engages photography only to push it beyond medium specificity. Here, the real becomes replica, representation becomes abstract, and image becomes object.
Like a relay race, the subject matter of Little Glow has passed through, and along, multiple vectors. The source: anachronistic display apparatuses of 291, the iconic New York photography gallery run by Alfred Stieglitz from 1905 – 1917 that introduced European modernist artists to North America which opened a conversation between photography and the avant-garde. The aftereffect: a two-part installation that offers a simulation of the historic gallery via a system of perpetual reproduction.
While Lycan’s process seems to eschew literal interpretation in favour of atmosphere, the work remains haunted by their antecedent―—the painted burlap that textured its walls, the vases for its flowers, and the fluid quality of relations that 291 stimulated.
IMAGE CREDIT: Kelly Lycan, 2015, Courtesy Susan Hobbs Gallery, Toronto.