Littoral Drift Nearshore: Meghann Riepenhoff
September 15, 2017-December 22, 2017
Meghann Riepenhoff exhibits a selection of camera-less images created in 2017that record the essence of nature in its most elemental and fluctuating states. Riepenhoff works primarily in cyanotype, a process explored by Anna Atkins and other photographic pioneers in the 1840s. As is characteristic with this early photographic process, the artist hand-coats watercolor paper with light-sensitive chemicals. What is unique to Riepenhoff’s process is that these works, often of considerable size, are created on location in a variety of natural environments. The paper is brought to sites where it is exposed to ocean waves, sections are buried in the sand, submerged in tidal pools and draped over limbs in the rain. Collaborating with natural forces to create these striking works, Riepenhoff’s process is both performative and physically challenging.
The cyanotype takes on a monumental presence in Littoral Drift Nearshore #516 (Bainbridge Island, WA 04.27.17), a large-scale composition created specifically for the UMMA exhibition. This immersive work, spanning ten feet, consists of twenty components joined together to convey the energy of undulating waves captured in a range of deep blues. Like the evolution of natural environments, Riepenhoff’s images continue to change over time—the surfaces are not fixed as in traditional darkroom photographs. While the artist’s images undeniably draw associations to painterly abstraction, these one-of-a-kind images are also direct imprints of the landscape.
Riepenhoff lives and works in Bainbridge Island, Washington and San Francisco, California, and these locales are often reflected her compositions.