Yossi Milo Gallery is pleased to present Littoral Drift, an exhibition of cyanotypes by American artist Meghann Riepenhoff. The exhibition will open on Thursday, March 16 and will be on view through Saturday, April 29, with an opening reception for the artist on Thursday, March 16 from 6:00 – 8:00 pm. This is Riepenhoff’s first exhibition at the Gallery.
Meghann Riepenhoff’s experimentations with cameraless photographic processes break down the elements of photography to its basics – paper, light, chemistry and chance. Her Littoral Drift series revisits and reconsiders the history of the cyanotype process, linking her to early pioneers in photography and science, as well as to contemporary photography’s return to hand-crafted, one- of-a-kind works of art.
Works from Riepenhoff’s series, Littoral Drift (2013–ongoing), are large-scale dynamic cyanotypes made in collaboration with the landscape. Rather than photographing a scene with film and camera, the artist takes direct imprints from nature. After coating sheets of paper with homemade cyanotype emulsion, she exposes them to the elements, partially submerging them in ocean waves, draping them over a tree branch during a rainstorm or burying them in snow pack. Water, sunlight and sediments, such as sand, salt, detritus and impurities, activate the photosensitive chemicals to create fluid, painterly abstractions of the landscape in Prussian blue or white. The prints’ titles indicate the location, date and conditions under which they were made, anchoring each in a specific moment in time and underscoring the performative aspect of the series.
Riepenhoff only partially fixes her cyanotypes, leaving residual photosensitive chemistry to react to light and the environment. A print’s colors may fluctuate in intensity or salt crystals may bloom on the surface of the paper, subtly changing the artwork over time. The shifting qualities of these “living” prints are both a desirable aesthetic outcome and reflect themes of impermanence, time and mutability that are consistent throughout Riepenhoff’s work.
Meghann Riepenhoff’s work has been presented in exhibitions at the High Museum of Art, Atlanta, GA; Worcester Art Museum, Worcester, MA; Memphis College of Art, Memphis, TN; University of Missouri, Columbia, MO; San Francisco Camerawork, San Francisco, CA; Museo de la Ciudad, Queretaro, Mexico; Photo Center Northwest, Seattle, WA; Aperture Foundation, New York, NY; and Houston Center for Photography, Houston, TX, among others. Riepenhoff earned her BFA in Photography from the University of Georgia, Athens, and her MFA from the San Francisco Art Institute. The artist was born in 1979 in Atlanta, GA, and currently divides her time between Bainbridge Island, WA, and San Francisco, CA.