Nolan Preece


Artist Statement

This body of work began over thirty years ago, and encompasses prints made with the cliché-verre and chemigram processes. Included are purely abstract works and those that employ recognizable images, and all reflect a passion for discovery, invention, and the natural environment.

The cliché-verre is an antique photographic technique for making prints from handmade glass negatives. The artist discovered a way to create beautiful yet mysterious imagery by activating smoke-on-glass with chemical solvents. The works reflect a ratio of approximately half control and half serendipity, along with many attempts and digital enhancements to arrive at the final image.
The chemigram process is a mix of painting, printmaking, and photography. The process starts with gelatin silver photo paper onto which are applied resists of acrylic floor wax, tape, spray paint, and other materials. Common photographic developer and fixer are used alternately to create complex and unpredictable graphic structures. By using these chemicals effectively, gradations of tonality and color are achieved.

In this process of cameraless photography, a feeling of mystery or enigma naturally arises. For the artist, these chemigrams resemble the desert, which is his home and passion, and these resonances flow through the work. It reflects the textures, colors and shapes of the landscape in eastern Utah where he grew up and the Nevada desert where he currently lives.

The chemigrams have shifted from nonobjective works, having no recognizable imagery, to prints that reflect the artist’s involvement in the environmental movement. Signs of human intervention in the landscape are combined with abstract chemical painting. These prints challenge the viewer’s awareness by directly condemning the degradation of the air and water through hydraulic fracturing and the emission of carbon and other substances into the earth’s atmosphere.









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