the world is blue at its edges

Meghann Riepenhoff creating a cyanotype in the snow at Bainbridge Island, WA. Photo courtesy of Meghan Riepenhoff

“For many years, I have been moved by the blue at the far edge of what can be seen, that color of horizons, of remote mountain ranges, of anything far away. The color of that distance is the color of an emotion, the color of solitude and of desire, the color of there seen from here, the color of where you are not. And the color of where you can never go.” Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost
Kind of Blue, was the title of the talk  Meghann Riepenhoff  gave at the New York Public Library on Wednesday, October 17th.  This talk was in conjunction with the current exhibition at the NYPL, Anna Atkins Refracted:  Contemporary Works.

Meghann Riepenhoff making cyanotypes on Rodeo Beach, CA using chemically treated paper.

Meghann Riepenfoff, Littoral Drift #241,(Recto/Verso) Fay Bainbridge Beach, Bainbridge, Island, WA, Tidal Draw in Tidal Flats, Two Minutes, 2015. Photo courtesy of the artist

Meghann Riepenhoff is interested in making photographs, specifically cynaotypes (camerless) that reflect the ever changing nature of the landscape.  Her photographs are not static images.  They change with the amount of UV light and humidity.   Riepenhoff  delights in the nature of making cyanotypes: its all about failure and chance.

Meghann Riepenhoff in the the process of creating a print on Rodeo Beach in the Marin Headlands, CA. Photo courtesy of the artist.

It’s impossible in this blog to “represent” the lushness and depth of Riepenhoff’s work.  The cyanotypes that she makes on the ground (sand, ocean, beach, rivers, waterfalls) are called Littoral, a geological term (see definition below).. . traces of the interaction with the landscape, sediment, dogs, tears, record the physical engagement with the landscape.

Ecotone #289, Bainbridge Island, WA, Drizzle and Downpour

The other “category” of cyanotypes , Riepenhoff talked about were ecotones (see definition below) another geological term.  In Riepenfoff’s work, ecotones are made in precipitation of various kinds: snow, rain, fog.

Meghann Riepenhoff, Littoral Drift +Ecotone published by Radius Books, October 2018.  The current show at the New York Public LIbrary is up until January 6, 2019.

Dosey Doe Binding or accordian folded, saddle stiched binding. Radius Books.  David Chickey, publisher, designer and editorial director for Radius Books was part of the conversation with Riepenhoff.

I started this blog with a quote from Rebecca Solnit, because Riepenhoff quoted her in her talk, Kind of Blue at the New York Public LIbrary Wednesday night.  I will end with Solnit on the color blue.

“The world is blue at its edges and in its depths. This blue is the light that got lost. Light at the blue end of the spectrum does not travel the whole distance from the sun to us. It disperses among the molecules of the air, it scatters in water. Water is colorless, shallow water appears to be the color of whatever lies underneath it, but deep water is full of this scattered light, the purer the water the deeper the blue. The sky is blue for the same reason, but the blue at the horizon, the blue of land that seems to be dissolving into the sky, is a deeper, dreamier, melancholy blue, the blue at the farthest reaches of the places where you see for miles, the blue of distance. This light that does not touch us, does not travel the whole distance, the light that gets lost, gives us the beauty of the world, so much of which is in the color blue.” Rebecca Solnit, A Field Guide to Getting Lost.

Littoral drift refers to the movement of entrained sand grains in the direction of the longshore current. Littoral drift can be thought of as a river of sand moving parallel to the shore, moving sand from one coastal location to the next and so on until the sand is eventually lost to the littoral system.

An ecotone is a transition area between two biomes. It is where two communities meet and integrate. It may be narrow or wide, and it may be local (the zone between a field and forest) or regional (the transition between forest and grassland ecosystems).

Chronophotography is an antique photographic technique from the Victorian era (beginning about 1867–68), which captures movement in several frames of print. These prints can be subsequently arranged either like animation cels or layered in a single frame.

Cyanotype is a photographic printing process that produces a cyan-blue print. Engineers used the process well into the 20th century as a simple and low-cost process to produce copies of drawings, referred to as blueprints. The process uses two chemicals: ferric ammonium citrate and potassium ferricyanide.
Cyanotype is the photographic printing process discovered by Sir John Herschel, a scientist, in 1842 as a means to reproduce diagrams. It creates a cyan blue silhouette when an object is placed on a reactive surface and develops in UV light – a blueprint.

Celebrating the Life & Legacy of Anna Atkins
Blue Prints:  The Pioneering Photographs of Anna Atkins
October 19, 2018 – February 17, 2019
Wachenheim Gallery

Anna Atkins Refracted: Contemporary Works
September 28, 2018 – January 6, 2019
Rayner Special Collections Wing & Print Gallery

Meet the Artist
Letha Wilson: Tuesday, October 15 | 12:30 PM
Meghann Riepenhoff: Friday, October 19 | 1:30 PM
Katherine Hubbard: Tuesday, November 6th | 12:30 PM
Erica Baum: Thursday, December 6th | 12:30 PM
Alison Rossiter: Wednesday, December 19th | 12:30 PM

How We See:  Photobooks by Women
Thursday, October 25,  6:30pm
Schwarzman Building, Celeste Auditorium

Special Workshop with Meghann Riepenhoff
October 21, 2018 (9:30 am – 3pm)
Penumbra Foundation
36 E 30 St.
$275 non-member
$242.50 member



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