All the works in this show have in common the fact that a camera lens was integral to their creation. Some, like Austin artist Burton Pritzker's gelatin silver prints, began their process in a camera with photographic film, and were then transformed in the darkroom via alchemical means that only the artist knows. Others, like Robert Rauschenberg's and Sue Weil's scaled-down, photogravure replica of one of their life-sized blueprints, utilized a camera to create their small version on blueprint paper.
The work of Dallas artist Jeff Scott, Keith Carter, Casey Williams, Bill Wittliff, and Pritzker's "Avocado Seed" all began their lives in cameras, before being translated into a copper or polymer plate via a film positive made from their prints or their negatives.
Each artist uses a camera the way a painter uses a brush, that is, as a tool to create these multiple originals. It is the compelling image, not the technology, that powers the works. None of the images in this show are straightforward representations of their subject matter. Each image has been altered by the artist to evoke an idea, a feeling, or a connection to something deep in the viewer that has little or nothing to do with the literal subject.
For example, Casey Williams uses a double exposure to juxtapose two contradictory subjects. Rauschenberg and Weil transform human hands into ethereal, alien appendages. Keith Carter photographs a dog—howling at the moon—as an out-of-focus, foggy, dream image. Joel Salcido does extensive handwork on his film positive, which donates a painterly look to his photogravure. Burt Pritzker abstracts his images all the way to the precipice of recognizability, always making his works "about something else."
In summary, what these works have in common is the artists' creative use of light as their artistic medium, and, their ability to put us in touch with meanings that transcend empirical reality.