Cornwall Library features photography by Prud’homme

Cornwall Library features photography by Prud'homme


CORNWALL — The Cornwall Library presents artist Sarah Prud’homme’s new series, Inhuman Time, a meditation on stones collected from the New England coast, opening with a reception Jan. 21. 

According to a statement: Prud’homme’s stones were created over 400 million years ago, when volcanic magma was propelled to the earth’s surface. Mostly basalt, they have high concentrations of magnesium, iron, and calcium, which gives them a rich black hue. As they cooled and were shaped by ocean wave action they became smooth and round, which captivated the artist’s eye.

In making these photographs, Prud’homme used a digital camera to capture twenty to fifty images of each stone, which she layered in Photoshop to reveal what normally escapes our gaze. While this technique was developed out of necessity — to overcome the medium format camera’s shallow depth of field — Prud’homme embraced it and used it to enlarge the stones to many times their actual size. These images examine a stone’s surface from its center to its outer edges, resulting in a hyperfocused composition that appears both flat and three-dimensional. This highlights the fact that photography creates its own reality rather than simply documenting fact.

Inhuman Time includes stones of various shapes and hues, each of which reflects their point of origin. In her images, Prud’homme removes single stones from a crowded beach and examines them closely, which individualizes and monumentalizes them. The stones’ smooth roundness and blackness against an infinity of white reveals their ineffable, immanent qualities. In her grid of a dozen oval stones, Prud’homme emphasizes the similarities and subtle differences between each example. The stones’ seemingly identical shapes cause the eye to compare and contrast them, and encourages viewers to become active observers. The grid is in the art historical tradition of “typologies,” exemplified by the work of minimalist artists such as Karl Blossfeldt and Bernd and Hilla Becher.

With Inhuman Time, Prud’homme hopes the viewer will discover something about beauty/art/science/math/nature/reality/truth. Or at least reflect on the fact that humans and stones are composed of the same minerals, that the universe is interconnected, and that our survival depends on this awareness.

Prud’homme lives in Brooklyn, NY, and spends as much time as she can at her family’s house in Cornwall, she said.  She has an MFA from the School of Visual Arts. Her thesis was a series of cubes mounted with abstract photos of the human body that was included in “Somatogenics,” a show curated by Cindy Sherman, Sarah Charlesworth, and Laurie Simmons at Artists Space. Prud’homme’s work has appeared at Brooklyn Cottage, and in several group shows in New York.

Inhuman Time, Photographs by Sarah Prud’homme, runs from Jan. 21 to March 4, with an artist’s reception from 5-7 p.m. Jan. 21. The public is welcome; registration is required. Go to cornwalllibrary.org/events/