Tracey Morgan Gallery is pleased to present a solo exhibition by photographer Cole Caswell in our project space. This is Caswell’s first exhibition with the gallery and is presented in conjunction with Orly Cogan: Holding On & Letting Go in our main gallery. An opening reception for both artists will be held Friday, September 15 from 6-8PM.
On view in this exhibition is a recent series of 60 unique tintype landscape photographs all taken in the mountains of Western North Carolina. Though his homebase and studio are on an island off the coast of Maine, Caswell has been living and working nomadically for the past decade, traveling around in his 1990s bus with a portable darkroom. Drawn to the Appalachian Mountains near Asheville, NC, Caswell spent four weeks in the spring of 2023 developing this new body of work.
These works show an interest in human’s place within the natural world, on both a macro and micro level. While contemporary life has largely pulled us away from a meaningful connection to place, these photographs feel grounded in the earth, with an intensely magnetic aura and depth that is counterintuitive to their two-dimensional surfaces. Caswell embraces the idiosyncrasies and imperfections inherent to this analog medium, allowing the material itself to become a co-collaborator. The photographs are dark and moody, seeming to unearth something beautifully sinister and complex buried deep within the landscape. Utilizing an historic photographic process of wet-plate collodion in a contemporary context, the works serve as a respite from our technologically saturated world.
“The Source,” included in the show’s title, is in reference to the sun, which is prominently depicted. Through the analog tintype photographic process, we are given access to views of the sun which would not be possible with the naked eye. The small scale of the tintypes (10 x 8 inches) gives a pleasing and almost unsettling intimacy to the otherwise vastness of earth’s star – serving as small portals to expansive celestial spaces.
In addition to the unique tintypes, four editioned and framed 25 x 20 inch enlargements from the series will be on view.
Cole Caswell’s work explores our ability to subsist within the contemporary environment. He has collaborated with the arts collective Spurse, The Nation Park System, and The Kohler Center for The Arts. He is the current Visual Artist Fellow for the State of Maine for his work focused on threatened coastal landscapes and he holds an adjunct faculty position at Southern Maine Community College, where he develops and teaches photography courses remotely. In addition to these teachings Cole has lectured at the Maine Media Workshops; Kohler Arts Center; The Halide Project; Syracuse University’s School of Architecture; The School of the Museum of Fine Arts; Tufts University; and the Bakery Photo Collective. His work has been shown extensively around North America and is the subject of numerous publications. His studio is located on Peaks Island off the coast of Maine.