Orchids: Wayne Simpkins

Location: Gasoline (art gallery) 2493 Broad Avenue, Memphis, Tennessee 38112

Date / Time: Friday, October 18th from 6pm until 9pm

Event Page: https://www.facebook.com/events/663989720301535/

Orchids Statement by Wayne Simpkins

The world goes on about its business whether we notice it or not. We tend to pay attention to what we expect to see, to see what we know is there to be seen, and miss the rest sometimes because we do not pay attention, sometimes because events are too fast for us to see, or too slow. Probably most of us on hearing the word, orchid, think of the flowers and in a display of orchids we probably look at the flowers paying little attention to the plants. Here is something photography can do — capture the unseen or unnoticed and call our attention to it.

I find the forms and patterns fascinating. I am happy to have captured this bit of the world at the time and place. Straight up photography is a departure for me since I usually take photos like these and turn them into something else, cut them up, add some words, and distort or blend multiple images together. It is refreshing to let the pictures simply be what they are.

The photographs were taken many years ago at Cheekwood in the orchid house, which apparently no longer exists or is not open to the public. It happened when I was there that most of the plants were not in flower and I avoided photographing the few flowers that were there. The roll of 35mm black and white film was mislaid and discovered much later. The roll was probably one of the last rolls of film I developed in a wet darkroom before switching entirely to digital photography. I scanned the film and split toned the grayscale scans to add color with the highlight end of the tonal scale warmer and the shadows cooler usually with a separate mid range color blended into the highlight and shadow colors. Think of this coloring as the digital equivalent of color toning a black and white print in a wet darkroom, such as selenium or brown toning. The color toning was reworked in Adobe Photoshop for this exhibition.

(Caption) Image Printed on Hahnemuehl Photo Rag Ultrasmooth paper using the Epson Ultrachrome K3 inkset and an Epson large format inkjet printer.

For this, the twelfth exhibition in the Circuitous Succession Series, we examine meticulously printed images focusing on the subject matter of Orchids in a dormant-like state between blooming and slumbering. Wayne Simpkins painstakingly has created a body of work that forces the viewer into a realm void of color to look into the skeletal features of these specimens, which he photographed long ago, only to now fully realize in print form. There is metaphorical content embedded within this subject matter, to which curator Miller found a pivotal connection.