20×24 Image Transfer 1987-97

Even though he began to run the 20×24 studio in 1980, John did not begin making image transfers on the camera until 1983.
It wasn’t though he did not try, the early attempts were failures, most of the dyes would not stick to the watercolor paper, it was difficult to control the large floppy negative, and delivery of the film was much slower with the 20×24 system than it was with 8×10. But every six months or so he kept trying, but still was unable to perfect the process to the level of what he could achieve with 8×10 film. It took a change of aesthetic approach to finally break through. Rather than fight the inconsistencies and idiosyncrasies of the process John decided to embrace them. Allowing the process to proceed in a “controlled failure” John sought out transfers that had peeling shadows and rough areas. These became starting points for substantial reworking with pastel, dry pigment, charcoal and graphite. Much of the pigment was ground in with sandpaper and the paper surface scratched with metal brushes, all to achieve an expressive blend of photographic image, collaged elements and the colored pigment. This body of work moved through the Androgyny series of 1987 to the Pere La Chaise series of 1988-92 and John’s first digital collage imagery of 1993-1997. Throughout it all the Image Transfer process provided a vehicle for painterly expression designed to augment the narrative of the images.