My photographs consist of everyday objects, foods, and materials that I have constructed and arranged into various patterns. The content of the photographs are mundane artifacts of life—things that we are all familiar with—including donuts, cassette tape, coffee, and sweater lint. These materials have been set up, built, carved, and bitten, so that larger systems of visual information are illustrated. Despite being rendered in an unconventional way, the content is legible and the information is valid. While star charts made from lint on a sweater, a fingerprint drawn with sugar, and street maps made out of broken glass are novel ways of presenting information, they contain the same data and visual efficacy as the typical depictions.
This body of work is about creating order where randomness is expected. Natural disorder is defied; so that the sprinkles on donuts depict the stages of cell division, and milk poured into coffee illustrate common cloud formations. Equally important to this body of work is humor —via odd juxtapositions of sophisticated content with banal subject matter. The objects used to create these pieces are all mundane and common parts of modern life, but the concepts illustrated therein are timeless and lofty ideas, culled from biology, chemistry, and fractal geometry.
This process involves finding materials that bear a certain semblance to common scientific illustrations and visual displays—hair stuck to the wall of a shower having the same curving line quality as a fingerprint, gummy worms having the same shape as chromosomes, and an Oreo cookie having the same shape and colors as a yin yang.
- Kevin Van Alest
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