Cobalt 9

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September 2007

Oil, light, dye destruction print

40.5 x 50.5cm / 16 x 20 ”


From the early 1920s, modern artists rediscovered the special appeal of the camera-less image. Foremost among them was László Moholy- Nagy who wrote: ‘The photogram, or camera-less record of forms produced by light, which embodies the unique nature of the photographic process, is the real key to photography’. Moholy-Nagy’s ‘Contructivist’ photograms were often radically abstract, capturing a floating quality of usually white forms in black space. They played an important role in the formation of what he called ‘The New Vision’ – art as part of society that rejoiced in revealing novel experiences of space and time through the action of light. Moholy-Nagy also made attempts with abstract colour photographs but felt that ‘without apparatus on a larger, perhaps more scientific scale’ it was difficult to put them into execution. Colour photograms had still to be developed. But Moholy- Nagy paved the way for an expressive use of abstraction in the ‘Colour Field’ paintings of Mark Rothko and Barnett Newman. Fabian Miller can equally be seen in this modern tradition. And with his use of colour in abstract photography he fulfils Moholy-Nagy’s desire for ‘unleashed’ colour photography.


Blue Gold by Garry Fabian Miller, from the essay by Martin Barnes, Curator, Photographs, Victoria and Albert Museum in the catalogue accompanying the exhibition Garry Fabian Miller, Blue Gold, 23 April-29 May 2004, Hamiltons, London.

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