Ritual and Ruin: Tableaux of a Lost War Cole Pratt Gallery 3800 Magazine St, New Orleans, LA 70115 July 25th, 2017 - August 26th, 2017
The ghosts of past centuries find undisturbed refuge from the foothills of the Southern Appalachian Mountains down to the fertile flatlands of the Coast. They inhabit the remains of yesterday while lingering stubbornly in the world of today. In my photography the past resides in the present in many forms - land, crops, architecture, and people. I seek out those images that harbor these ghosts and, acting as icons, deliver a modern interpretation of such themes as religion, home, loss, ritual, birth, and death.
For more than two decades I have lived in the American South and traveled the back roads with a Polaroid Land Camera and a digital camera, photographing in both rural and urban settings. Incorporating photographic printing processes from the 19th, 20th and 21st Centuries, I mount the final archival pigment prints onto metal plates and treat them with varnish and stain, often sealing them under glass. The final pieces vary from single images to larger, multiple image collages and range in size from small to large-scale.
My desire is to document those structures and landscapes that carry with them not only strong connotations of the past but also thematic symbols of the present. I want to create from these images narratives that explore the Southern experience an experience that remains, in part, unwontedly bound to yesterday in a region whose present is as peculiar and as haunted as its past.