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Were I compelled to state an artistic goal in four words, those would be, Look at the world, when "world" also includes the innards of the digital image. I might also add, "The rest is commentary." My hope is to lead the eye to view all things, whether a scene in the world or a photographic image, in diverse ways, through many different imaginings and reimaginings, with profound attentiveness, again and again.

My work is grouped into projects, each of which has a general title, such as Accretions, Details, Unthreadings. Each project contains, or will potentially contain, multiple works, and in most cases each work is in many parts.

In Quarries, many art works are derived from a single source image. The title Quarries is meant as a metaphor, in that I am "mining" each image by cutting it up into rectilinear parts to produce something new. This project began with the idea of dividing, digitally, an image into grids from two by two to thirteen by thirteen, and then rearranging all the cells of these grids using random numbers. The result was the works titled Grids. My next idea was to arrange twelve such grids, one of each type, into large sheets. This produced the 12Gs. In these, each grid is still a random rearrangement, but one not used in any other Quarry works. The arrangement of those twelve is carefully worked on, and not at all random.

In some Quarry works, the image, though divided into grids and rearranged, is otherwise unmodified. In others, the cells of the grid are reduced in resolution in 35 different ways, even down to a few pixels or a single pixel, and are grouped with the original cell. Works are then made using these 36 selected randomly. This is how the Figmented and X-Ray works are constructed.

There are now sixteen different types of Quarry works, varying in size from about 6 X 6 inches to a diptych at 57 X 224 inches. I expect eighteen types, and to be able to present all of them together. My hope is to achieve an effect somewhat like what some have seen in the 12Gs, but still more extensive and intense: the plumbing of a single image in such detail that the eye feels as if it has explored and exhausted all possibilities, including many the viewer will not have imagined, leading to a deep emptying-out effect. Just within a single 12G, every object in the original image is presented in at least twelve different compositions and in twelve different contexts, adjacent to different parts of the image in each recurrance.

I have made Quarry works using thirty-two images so far, and have selected many more images for possible use, far too many for me to ever fully work with in my lifetime.

Every work in Quarries is an edition of one, with many other versions constructed or at least possible in a rejection of the precious-artist idea of seeking a uniquely inspired "beautiful" arrangement, instead suggesting that many different orderings, including those achieved randomly, can be of equal or near-equal interest to an actively engaged viewer. I do include my own decisions, often combined with a use of randomness, juxtaposing human intentionality with the forces of the cosmos that array the molecules in the air and the stars in the sky. Confronted with such natural orderings, we then make meanings, as the ancients did when, inventing stories, they grouped stars into constellations. I wish to offer alternatives to the engagement with the particularities of artists' identities that characterizes much art today, instead opening onto forces beyond the most immediately human.

Fred Camper
Chicago, Illinois
April 4, 2018.

All Quarries     Other Artist's Statements     Fred Camper art     Complete Fred Camper art