Matthew Brandt’s latest exhibition, “River and Sky,” encompasses three of the photographer’s recent series in a compelling and articulate show. “Stepping Stone Falls” and “Bridges Over Flint” explore the waterways and structures of Flint, Michigan through both the subject matter and in the artist’s process. In “Stepping Stone Falls,” Brandt pairs the heavy, Brutalist architecture of the dam in Flint with images of fluid torrents of water—the same water that he then uses as part of his darkroom developing process. His prints spend weeks as disassembled cyan, magenta, and yellow layers submerged in a constant flow of water before being considered finished.
The same goes for “Bridges Over Flint,” a series of 8 x 10 images developed—and distorted, thanks to contaminants—with the infamously dangerous water from the city’s household taps.
This interplay between subject and medium is also evident in his “Night Skies” series. The name is at once descriptive and misleading—although the abstract images seem to make more sense with this title, in truth Brandt arranged cocaine on black velvet to simulate depth.
Across the three series, Brandt plays with our expectations and the medium in a manner that is worth a closer consideration—and if possible, a visit in person to see the highly specific material play in all its detailed beauty.
If you are interested to learn more about Brandt’s work, don’t miss our previously published interview with him, which covers several prior series not featured in this gallery exhibition.