“Seeing light is a metaphor for seeing the invisible in the visible, for detecting the
fragile imaginal garment that holds our planet and all existence together. Once
we have learned to see light, surely everything else will follow.”Arthur Zajonc
In his large-format, black-and-white photographs, Flomen captivates our optic and draws it toward what is hidden in plain sight, sequestered between darkness and the light. He draws our attention to the liminal spaces that exist between tenses, conditions of matter, and even states of being. By making visible parts of a world previously unseen, even unsuspected by many of us, he places us squarely on the threshold of an ineffable visual space that dwarfs, seduces – and promises to swallow us whole.
We become like little children again, beggars on the precipice of infinity, as we find ourselves standing on the doorstep of the Milky Way galaxy, or squarely ensconced upon a vast ice-age glacier in summer clothing. Whether it’s the mating dance of fireflies, or the metaphorical interaction of “oil” and “water,” or the seeming birth of galaxies somewhere strangely other in the night sky, we’re transported to an arresting elsewhere that remains the everlasting promise of Flomen’s uncompromising abstractions.
Flomen’s series of photograms effortlessly demonstrate once again just how wide the metaphoric reach of his art is. It is all the more remarkable given that he wields no camera, no state-of-the-art digital imaging equipment or magical studio stunts or tricks, only the most inquiring of minds and a savant’s take on the history of photography, both technical and aesthetic, mastered over long years. His photograms, using the unlikeliest of source imagery in order to seize upon those moments in and out of time that seem fraught with all the surreal indeterminacy and ambiguity of the dream, open up new terrain for photographic practice at a time when the digital image enjoys uncontested hegemony. [Extract : A Palimpsest of Pale Fire: The Fabulist Photography of Michael Flomen : James D. Campbell.]