Doris Mitsch, "Darkness D", 2001, archival inks on rag paper, 32x32.

Doris Mitsch, “Darkness D”, 2001, archival inks on rag paper, 32×32.

Doris Mitsch

These photographs are from a series of digital explorations of organic forms, isolated by a sweeping beam of light in the dark.

I have a lot of questions about beauty. I find almost all natural shapes beautiful, and most people agree that objects such as flowers and shells, especially, are beautiful. But why? I am interested in the visual relationships between different kinds of natural objects, and in what happens when you isolate familiar things and look at them with unfamiliar closeness and clarity, in unfamiliar contexts, or from unfamiliar perspectives.

Some people look at these photographs and tell me they see skin, tentacles, hills, waves, canyons, fabric…. Some look at them as abstractions. My intention isn¹t to play games or disguise my subjects, but to explore beyond the associations we usually have about certain kinds of organic shapes.

For this body of work, I use a digital scanner as a camera, scanning objects directly to the computer screen. I spend many hours going over each one, making minute adjustments, studying how the surfaces reflect the light’s sweep and the way they interact with the darkness that holds them. The large scale of the prints is to encourage people to slow down and look closely: the prints are up to 42” wide, and are made using multiple passes of archival inks or pigments on rag paper, creating an inky, matte surface and dimensional feel.

Doris Mitsch earned her BA from Stanford University in 1987. She has shown her work at numerous galleries including ClampArt in NYC, Berkeley Art Center in California, Gallery Sink in Colorado, and Pro Arts in California. Reviews and articles about her work have been featured in Focus magazine, Time Out New York, WIRED, Antiques and Arts Weekly, and Denver Post, and her imagery has appeared in the Sun Magazine and GRPAHIS Photo Annual.