“Trees, leaves, flowers are all given the Sells treatment and become abstracted metaphors of the sacred geometry still found between light and organic materials within the aforementioned natural world”
The heat, cast high upon the leaves and the stinging evaporation of breath from within her lungs became a vehicle for her uncanny ability to consume the prism of color around her shoulders, draped like a veil of unconscionable action set to the pace of he Goliath beetles beating their veined and translucent wings within ear shot. The world, cast from the interior of this prism reacted upon the sheet of light sensitive film aligning the suns fight against the many organic objects in its path, created in obscure corners of a world unexamined by concrete and machinery alike en route on its destination towards fixity. It had come to bear that the palatable chromophilia she discovered within her reacted like a chain of command from her optic calculations as a desire that she could not easily name.
The world, absorbed by the absence of darkness, the rhythmic preponderance of a so many values of transitory color, subtle shifts amongst the glades and the familiarity of its pulsing and sacred geometries would result in a record of disproportionate passion-an allusion to the internal, but also to the intricacies of the intimate patterns of living space. The jungle fronds were slick and if she were not careful, they would slash at her skin and eyes with razor sharp potential for grave damage. When she closed her eyes under the canopy, nothing changed. Her irises absorbed so much color and light that she realized her consumption was at once healing and perhaps out of control as the geometries mapped and controlled the pattern of her interior vision without the function of looking.
Chloe Sells’ world of color is incredibly nuanced and perhaps hyper in the manner that it suggests a reading the great prism that could be considered paranormal, or hyper-normal at the least. Having written about her work in the past and having seen her exceptional photographs at her exhibition “Senescence” at Michael Hoppen Gallery, I have been since, completely indentured to her vision. It is remarkable and unapologetic. Her gift of light, and it is a gift of complete desire, color and the fortitude of execution that walks the line between serendipitous form and complete control under will of individual perception of color, inspires. It speaks voraciously of the unobserved potential for the hyper-real. The use of filters, layering and darkroom tweaking make these images gem-like. It speaks of a world that lives more in the mind than in reality-these photographs are like visions, or perhaps they are visionary.
“The world, cast from the interior of this prism reacted upon the sheet of light sensitive film aligning the suns fight against the many organic objects in its path, created in obscure corners of a world unexamined by concrete and machinery alike en route on its destination towards fixity”
Her new book with GOST is a not-so-subtle tome of chromphilic love. “Swamp” has been manufactured from her home in Botswana. There is an underlying love of place in her work. That is not to say the images reflect Botswana culturally or historically, they are simply saturated slices of the natural world. Trees, leaves, flowers are all given the Sells treatment and become abstracted metaphors of the sacred geometry still found between light and organic materials within the aforementioned natural world. These metaphors pre-date human existence-what has come before is re-examined under the will of the artist. The sacred is present and the artist pines to communicate the greatness of the organic through totems of its natural condition through glorified enhancement of saturated color.
The book is beautifully produced and shows that the design team at GOST have been working hard against the tradition of the hardcover cloth bound book formula. They are willing to take a new step forward with layering images and the cutting of pages-this is reflective of Sells physical photographs-they have a shape or form that often emphasizes the physicality of her process and the book follows suit to perfection. The darkroom and the analogue photographs collude to challenge to the formula of frame and rectangle and the book, with its cut pages does the same for the book format.
Much of Sells production time is likely spent in the dark. Her time is spent with test strips, dark cloth and dark rooms- this is also why her use of color is extraordinary. Imagine if you have even been in a color darkroom for hours on end what color actually looks like when you leave the cave-your eyes re-adjust, sunlight becomes blinding and everything you knew about the photograph you were trying to make of the outside world shifts into unrecognizable values and shapes when you leave the enlarger and processor to examine them. This kaleidoscope effect and these fragments of color processing are no doubt one of the more important influences on her work. GOST have done an excellent job designing this book. It is a great object pronounces the complete synthesis between the works, the publisher and the artist’s vision. Recommended.
(All rights reserved. Text @ Brad Feuerhelm. Images @ Chloe Sells.)