Matt Hamon: Dog Years

  • ©,



    Dog Years


Creation Year:



    Mixed media on unique gelatin silver print


    16 inches x 20 inches x 2 inches


Artist Statement:

    I am interested in the effect photography has on narrative when you attempt to fill the rectangle and isolate all that happens outside that defined space. However, I avoid using a strict rectangle in an attempt to represent a reality that appears, in itself, incomplete and indefinable. In the darkroom, I treat the photographic paper as if it were a canvas, creating the image as a painter would, altering it with chemicals, casual toning, scratching and sometimes tearing the negative. This physical manipulation of the photographs is intended to play with the indexical perception of photographic imagery. The manipulation creates a suspension of belief that allows me to transcend ready-made perceptions of the visual world. I combine the qualities of verisimilitude that are inherent in photography with the nebulous referential qualities of drawing. The unfolding narrative is based on insinuation rather than representation. I am interested in the malleable qualities of fiction that are invented by the viewer. It is the ambiguity hovering between what is imagined and what one sees, between reality and fiction, that I hope will reinforce the sense of intrigue for the viewer. I attempt to make work that is ambiguously specific, chaotically tranquil, and viscerally banal. For me, the magic is in the in-between places. To a certain extent, the process is revealing the narrative. My time in the darkroom represents pursuit of these images and the evolving narrative. This pursuit of the images continues even as I am printing the negative. Often the result is purely accidental. I pursue them through trial and error. In the darkroom, the images that ultimately reveal themselves to me rarely resemble my initial intent. I have learned to accept what the images reveal to me and subsequently weave that into the story, thus creating a sort of meta-narrative.

Technical Information:

    The foundation for these images is photography. To a certain extent, the process is revealing the narrative. After the photographic prints are finished, I respond to them by drawing and painting their surfaces. I see the drawn elements as having a general iconographic quality. That is, a drawing of a house represents the concept “house,” in a general sense, whereas a photograph of a house represents the specific qualities of the house photographed. It is the inherent verisimilitude of photography, and the generalities
    inherent in drawing, that I attempt to meld or juxtapose.