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Aspen Mays
South Carolina

Artist Statement Submitted 2020

Climate chaos announces its arrival with startling urgency in the shape of more powerful storms and devastating fires. Hurricane Hugo hit my hometown of Charleston, South Carolina in 1989, and in my search through photographic archives of this storm, I was drawn to images of taped window panes. I interpreted this taping gesture as a futile yet deeply human act of apotropaic magic—a pre-storm ritual seemingly more shamanic than practical in its ability to provide any protection. I made a suite of large scale photograms of windows that are hybrid documents; enlargements from newspaper images (of California Dreaming, a local restaurant) and recreated tape patterns.
I also made a companion series of smaller photograms with saturated fabric dyes that reference the false color assigned to coded emergency alerts and Doppler radar images. Cameraless abstraction is a recurrent strategy that I use to destabilize the notion of photographic objectivity.

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