Brian Moss, "General Loan Executes Unidentified Viet Cong Suspect; Saigon; 1968", 1993, silver print, 2/3

Brian Moss, “General Loan Executes Unidentified Viet Cong Suspect; Saigon; 1968”, 1993, silver print, 2/3

Brian Moss

The Absence Series

In the Absence Series, historically significant documentary war images were scanned and the bodies of dead or dying people were digitally removed before seamlessly filling in the background. This work was initially an attempt to make an image of something that wasn’t there; to evoke a feeling of absence. Appropriately, the series also came to revolve around death. There is the human death in the original photograph. There is the death of a moment captured in the photograph, the literal arrestment and isolation of life from its normal fluidity in time. And there is the subsequent death of that image by alteration, with its possible effects on memory and (therefore?) history. There is also of course, the death of the author, originality and uniqueness, further complicated, or in this case simplified by the use of digital technology, which is used here to trouble the notion of documentary “truth”. All of these photographs were originally either used or made under circumstances that confound any notions of authorial neutrality and objectivity, as the accompanying stories make plain.

Brian Moss (Santa Monica, CA) is an artist who uses computers, drawing, installation, language, photography and sculpture in his work. He studied painting at Tyler School of Art, moving to Los Angeles in 1992 to attend graduate school in the photography program at California Institute of the Arts. After school, Moss worked in museums, galleries and non-profit spaces for several years and since 1997 he has taught at a number of schools in the Los Angeles area, and began teaching graduate seminars online for students from Parsons School of Design in New York in 2005.