Every day, in my studio, I ask the printer: Are you ok? Are you ready to print? Ten seconds later, it spits out a disposable answer, in the form of a standardized test pattern. Over the course of a few months, I respond with my hand, laboring to replicate the marks and form. I’m ok, thanks, I tell the printer, as I sew the form in absurdly magnified response, using ink drained from the printer itself to dye the thread, and my fingers, as I stitch. I am ready, I am ok: I render it permanent, declare that I am firing on all cylinders (nozzles).
My studio practice is a study in playful resistance, an attempt to infuse flexibility—and joy—into the often rigid structures surrounding vision. I am deeply interested in the ways in which corporations shape our use of photographic technologies (from early Kodak to Epson, Adobe, Flickr). So much of the labor of contemporary image-making is grounded in the electronic innards of inscrutable and proprietary machines; I liberate the raw materials and language of vision, and then I labor with them, allowing my hand to confront the machine.
I pore over cameras and camera manuals, spanning the last century of photographic making, for the instructional pictograms used on cameras, ostensibly intended to be universally legible: Woman’s head (portrait), Mountains (distance), Flower (macro). Onto glass sheets, with pigment ink, I trace the forms and embellish autobiographical narratives, rendering the final pieces as cyanotypes. Can I tell a story of my life through only these reductive sound bites of suggested visual referents? I am fascinated by the gap between intention and interpretation; I examine the apparatus of vision itself, and the ways in which it subtly conforms and contorts our individual visions.
Ink is the new lifeblood of photographic practice, replacing the moment of photosensitivity that used to define photographic prints. The pigment inks are proprietary, and intended with narrow purpose: to be sprayed with nuanced delicacy onto inkjet-specific paper, to reproduce photographic imagery with appropriate color accuracy. Instead: I dunk, I splash, I paint, I allow the ink to subsume the objects themselves. Objects of domestic whiteness meet the ink: Q-tips, tampons, tissues, marshmallows, rice, popcorn.… sopping with photographic material, they emerge cheerfully hued, chroma-toxic.
I dye more thread. Stitching and pixels have a lot in common. I scroll through redundant and banal comments on popular photo-sharing internet platforms: Cool Image. Stunning. So wonderfully beautiful. Nice saturation. Perfect contrast. I glean these kernels of (usually insipid, usually complimentary) attention, and I render them permanent, in Epson hues, on expired black and white photographic paper.
Limited Edition Prints Available
Foto Forum Santa Fe Exhibition Record
The Colors Really Pop, Solo Exhibition, 2020
Meggan Gould is a photographer living and working outside of Albuquerque, New Mexico, where she is an Associate Professor of Art at the University of New Mexico. She received an MFA from the University of Massachusetts - Dartmouth, and a BA from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill.
Her work has been exhibited widely in the United States and internationally, and is included in many private and corporate collections, as well as public collections including the DeCordova Museum, the New Mexico Museum of Art, Light Work, and the University of New Mexico Art Museum.
Her multifaceted practice uses photography, drawing, sculpture, and installation in an open-ended dissection of vision and photographic tools.