MOUNTAINS AND VALLEYS
In the Window
Mountains + Valleys (Grand Canyon) consists of 9 individually framed photographs arranged in a grid and exhibited in SPACE’s storefront window. Artist Millee Tibbs photographed the Grand Canyon, printed the image, fragmented it, folded those pieces, and then re-photographed them. In this piece, the geometric imposition onto the landscape creates an optical illusion that is a visual parallel to the illusion of space created by the perspectival system of the camera.
I am interested in surfaces and their relationship to what lies beneath – the discrepancy between what we see and what we know. I am drawn to photography because of its ubiquitous presence in our culture and its duplicitous existence as both an indexical representation of reality and a subjective construction of it. It is a slippery medium that easily shifts from scientific documentation of a moment in time to a subjective construction of reality. I am interested in the space where these qualities contradict each other and coexist simultaneously.
Mountains + Valleys uses images of the American West as a starting point to interpret and confront cultural myths surrounding the representation of that landscape. Titled for the two primary folds in Origami, the work uses physical alterations to create relationships between formal geometries and natural spaces that question the illusionistic representation of the photographic image. I print these images, fold them, and then re-photograph them. These images are simultaneously manipulated and yet photographically real. The geometric impositions onto the photo-object impress an aesthetic ideal onto the landscape, scarring the very thing they attempt to embellish. The fantasy of an untouched and untouchable vista is interrupted.
Millee Tibbs lives and works in Detroit, MI. She holds an MFA in photography from RISD and currently teaches at Wayne State University.