Ecstatic Camouflage found its physical manifestation through the gracious assistance of Dustin Pevey, Ross Cashiola, Alexsandra Annello, Jeff Elrod; and Caitlin Murray and Tim Johnson of the Marfa Book Company. I was on duty with Marfa EMS while conducting the installation: Marfa is a small town and the EMS station is just around the corner from the gallery, though that didn’t keep me from anxiously double-checking my radio every five minutes or so. Thanks also to Ballroom Marfa and the Big Bend Sentinel for their support. All photos by Alberto Thomas Halpern.
Friday, March 9th, 6 – 8 PM @ Marfa Book Company
The Marfa Book Company will host an exhibition of new works by Marfa-based artist Daniel Chamberlin entitled “Ecstatic Camouflage” this weekend, March 9 – 11, with an opening for the artist on Friday, March 9th from 6 – 8 pm.
According to the artist, “Ecstatic Camouflage is an explicitly psychedelic post-landscape photography.” In deed, these photographs make a break with tradition and do not call to mind the work of Ansel Adams, Eliot Porter, Robert Glenn Ketchum, or Richard Misrach, though, ostensibly, they share the same subject. The break may at first seem technical, a consequence of new technologies for manipulating images, but on further study, it becomes evident that it’s something else. For Chamberlin, that word is psychedelic or shamanistic.
“It is a post-landscape photography that explodes anthropocentric notions of perspective by way of repetition and rotation, an organic visual drone. It is an attempt at revealing my communion with the so-called “plant mind” of shamanistic lore.”
Several of the photographs in “Ecstatic Camouflage” were taken locally, in the Chisos Basin, and the Davis Mountains. Viewers may not immediately recognize these places however, and not just because the artist avoids iconic, monumental treatments for his subjects. In fact, the photographs resemble mandalas or yantras rather than icons or monuments. Curiously, his technique, involving minimal post-camera manipulation, does not hide the changes he makes, but demonstrates them openly. In the kaleidoscopic image that results from his repetitions and rotations, horizon lines vanish; trees and flowers, divide or merge; water appears throughout the surface; and the sky turns inward.
For his exhibition at the Marfa Book Company, Chamberlin chose ten pieces from an archive of hundreds of raw photographs taken in the Southwestern and South Central United States. The pieces selected are ink jet prints on canvas and range in size from three by four, to four by five feet in dimension.
Daniel Chamberlin was born in Indiana, and lived for twelve years in Los Angeles before moving to Marfa. He was a contributing editor to Arthur Magazine. He is a nationally registered EMT and currently works for Marfa EMS.