Christopher Colville’s Explosive Works of Fire at MonOrchid in February

Christopher Colville's explosive photographic experiments will be on display during February 2013 in the monOrchid's bokeh gallery.
Colville's images are created by igniting gunpowder on photographic paper
Colville's images are created by igniting gunpowder on photographic paper
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Jan. 26, 2013 - PRLog -- Christopher Colville has shown his work internationally for years and recently the monOrchid curator Justin Germain approached him about organizing an exhibition locally.  The artist saw the opportunity to show his ongoing series Works of Fire in Phoenix for the first time since it has grown into a full body of work.  The exhibition will open February 1, 2013 in monOrchid’s bokeh gallery.

Christopher’s initial inspiration for Works of Fire came from a poem about germination.   His meditation on the subject led to thoughts of the duality of creation and destruction from seed pods exploding and life emerging into the world.  This idea eventually became more explosive, literally, and resulted in the creation of works using photographic materials and gunpowder.  Christopher places small amounts of gunpowder on silver gelatin paper and ignites it, creating a visual display and recording the reaction.  A driving force behind the series is Carl Sagan’s quote, “darkness is commonplace; it is light that is the rarity.”  The Works of Fire represent the residual effect left by a single spark amongst the mass of darkness in the universe.

Christopher views his various bodies of work as attempts to record experiences that are just outside of our understanding.  Photography is the vessel he uses to explore, discover, and connect with the world.   His oeuvre illustrates a dynamic range of concepts and processes; he has worked with many untraditional photographic processes including light emitted from decaying squid, shadows of dissected eyeballs, in addition to photograms, paper negatives, ambrotypes, and black salt prints.

Christopher has always been drawn to certain design elements and textures when selecting images to photograph, which he found became apparent in the Works of Fire series as well.  The major difference is that he “takes” the photographs, but he “makes” the Works of Fire using photographic techniques—light, heat, and chemistry.  While making an image he is also creating an event, the result is a record of the transformative phenomena that occurred.  The works are often made in the field, at shooting ranges or in the desert, and he uses objects he finds in the locations to “loosely” direct the events by placing them on the paper with the gunpowder.  The aspect of creating an event and recording the results is scientific in nature; in essence Christopher is experimenting with the materials, using different explosives, powders, papers, and objects and he gains more clarity about the nature of the reactions each time.  With every trial he learns more about how to control the materials.  But, with each attempt he finds that the resulting images are often unlike what he imagined due to the unpredictable explosive energy of the gunpowder, the true force generating the image.  As Christopher continues to create, new questions emerge, which will undoubtedly lead to his next form of production.  More importantly to Christopher, he hopes the images open a dialogue for viewers to ask their own questions and explore the world and their own connection to it.

Located at 214 E Roosevelt St, in the heart of the arts district in downtown Phoenix, the monOrchid building offers space for events, weddings, photo/video production, art exhibits, and small businesses. The monOrchid is a 14,000 square foot space comprised of two art galleries, office pods, a coffee shop, and two world-class photo cycloramas. The varied connected spaces house multiple creative businesses and offer unique settings for cultural events within the masonry walls and soaring natural wood bow trusses. Originally a warehouse constructed in 1937 by Del Webb, the building is an excellent example of adaptive-reuse in the city’s core. Through years of renovation and invention, the building has morphed into a place for collaboration, creativity and celebration.  

The monOrchid building is open daily.  The galleries are open for public events every First and Third Friday from 6-9pm and by appointment with the curator.  For more information about art exhibitions, event rental, or office space please visit, “like” us on facebook, or contact the curator at .
Source:monOrchid LLC
Tags:Phoenix, Art, First Friday, Gallery, Photography
Industry:Arts, Event
Location:Phoenix - Arizona - United States
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