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BIOGRAPHY:

GULP, (Generative Urban Landscape Project) 2005-2008

Artist statement:

A gulp of water, a gulp of air, a gulp of reality…

In this photographic project, the ubiquitous Southern California pool becomes a medium through which the surrounding landscape is interpreted. The peculiar garden that is urban Southern California would not exist without water. Here it is viewed through that chlorinated lens. Descending into water, my movement, and the exhalation of my breath, causes distortion of the surface. Pictures are made looking upward. The water is clear, but distorts; the landscape can be intuited but the perspective is indeterminate. The resulting cognitive dissonance forces viewers to sense, rather than read, the images. Verisimilitude has never been my goal: instead it is to provide a sensual springboard for interpretation. My work has addressed issues of self, place, and memory through an appeal to the viewer's body, using sculptural forms and architecture to do so. This new project takes me back to photography, which was my first love as an artist.

Comprising over 50 large-scale images so far, as well as sculptures and performances in development, GULP represents a new direction for me, while developing directly from the work I have been doing for the past twenty-five years. In installations, drawings, performances and sculptures, I have used the Los Angeles landscape as muse and the body as basic element. In one precursor to GULP, I spent eight months drawing urban street trees on a daily basis, as a way of examining them, but also as a way of mapping my own state of mind.Comprising over 50 large-scale images so far, as well as sculptures and performances in development, GULP represents a new direction for me, while developing directly from the work I have been doing for the past twenty-five years. In installations, drawings, performances and sculptures, I have used the Los Angeles landscape as muse and the body as basic element. In one precursor to GULP, I spent eight months drawing urban street trees on a daily basis, as a way of examining them, but also as a way of mapping my own state of mind.

I found that the project (and the exhibition s effectiveness) benefited from the large number of drawings produced. Although each tree was unique, drawing over 175 of them in a uniform way allowed for reflection on the act of observation itself. The whole became a kind of accumulative phenomenological self-portrait , while situating itself specifically in this place, at this time.I found that the project (and the exhibition's effectiveness) benefited from the large number of drawings produced. Although each tree was unique, drawing over 175 of them in a uniform way allowed for reflection on the act of observation itself. The whole became a kind of accumulative phenomenological self-portrait , while situating itself specifically in this place, at this time.

Using the sensual immediacy of large-scale photographic imagery I aim to cajole viewers out of their learned response to the environment into a more sensory experience of it, and back into their bodies, so to speak. The images are generated by an action, the descent under water. When viewers stand in front of the finished pictures, they find themselves inserted into the action and by extension into my presence there. The physical nature of the finished objects is therefore intimately connected to their effectiveness. The scale of the images (40 to 60  square), the intensity of the color, the reflective surfaces play crucial roles.

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DANIEL WHEELER



GULP #072, 20 inches x 20 inches, Edition of 8

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