Farrah Karapetian makes photography physical.
Her large-scale, vibrant, camera-less photographs are produced using constructed negatives, or handmade props, the artist fabricates in transparent materials to infuse unexpected texture and volume into otherwise flat, opaque shadows.
Ice cubes become jagged threats when their shadows careen into an inflatable raft. A melting life vest beaches itself in sand. A buoy sinks or swims through gradient colors that meet like sea to sand. Like
sculptural reliefs, dynamic compositions come alive when competing sources of light skitter over the shallow topographies of ice, water, metal and plastic.
The exhibition title—RELIEF—refers also to the artist’s subject: refugees traversing vast bodies of water.
The precariousness of their journey echoes in the fragility of her materials, namely ice and digital negatives that project space but occupy none. When isolated in a photogram, the functionality of even
real navigational apparatus—like caving ladders, lines and cables—dismantles into abstractions of light and form.
Karapetian's work usually intersects with public and political spheres. The concerns of previous series span war veterans, Egyptian protestors and stagecraft.
The through line for Karapetian is the need to filter public imagery by deconstructing the act of looking and rebuilding it as personal, somatic and expressive photographic practice.
— text courtesy of Von Linteln Gallery, Los Angeles