- Contemporary Visual Art for Human Rights -

Ray Klimek

Posted on May 12 2016

Ray Klimek, American from Pennsylvania, he graduated from the Wilkes University and gets his maser degree in English and American Literature from Rutgers University in 1987, in 2001 he attended the International Center of Photography

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I conceive of abstraction and landscape as intimately related and representing a continuum rather than a set of distinct views or practices. I see abstraction as essentially a function of distance... An object on one scale becomes a landscape on another and displaces the viewer from a comfortable anthropocentric view to an unfamiliar and challenging terrain. - R. Klimek
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Ray Klimek, is an American artist from Pennsylvania, he graduated from the Wilkes University and got his master degree in English and American Literature from Rutgers University in 1987, in 2001 he attended the International Center of Photography of New York, and five years later received his MFA from the Mason Gross School of the Arts. Ray Klimek has taught in several american colleges and universities, for about twenty years he has been teaching literature and composition at Rutgers University. He is the recipient of several recognizes and grants, including those of Tierney Foundation Fellowship and a Puffin Foundation Grant. Ray Klimek's images have been presented and shown especially between United States and UK through solo exhibitions, collectives, festival and pubblications..
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The images present at LoosenArt are representative of the Klimek's interest to find a meeting point between scientific imagery and extraterrestrial fantasy in relation to seemingly unpromising earthly terrains. The carbon, in part of Klimek's images, becomes an object of interest and of study for its physical characteristics, element for Klimek that's subject to a variety of metamorphoses both physical and imaginative. Klimek's photographs appear formally abstract, some images seem to allude to nighttime sky or to terrestrial sites that simulate environmental conditions on other planets, simil images offered by NASA's photographies. The series “Archipelago”, realized via appropriations from Google Earth, are images that show waste areas which undergo a decontextualization to the point where they come to resemble decayed organs or floating abstractions, a further testimony of Klimek's interest to create a meeting point between real imaginative world and the fantastic one, a meeting which in his work is done mainly through a shift of scale that produces a disorentation, and that in turns allows us to lose ourselves in one relative micro macro cosmos.
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L.A.: Hello Ray, can you tell us how and when did you become interested in photography? how it is evolved your photographic research?
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Ray Klimek: Originally I was interested in becoming a poet but discovered I was a better poet with images than words. I studied English literature at Rutgers University where I also taught for many years. My unfinished doctoral dissertation on William Carlos Williams’s poetry in relation to architecture and visual art led to my interest in pursuing art as a practitioner.
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L.A.: What led to you working in Carbon Series?
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Ray Klimek: My first major project “Black Deserts /Welsh Tips” was a comparative geography of mining landscapes in northeastern Pennsylvania and south Wales. “Carbon” grew out of a desire to re-explore some of these landscapes from a different perspective. Inspired by Michael Light’s use of NASA photographs in “Full Moon”, and Oliver Morten’s brilliant book “Mapping Mars”, I became interested in exploring the Pennsylvania landscape as an analog landscape, thst is as a terrestrial site that bears a resemblance to landscapes on other planets. I shot Carbon Analog using various conventions of NASA photography including extreme close-ups, mosaics and jagged panoramas. This series led to further projects based on the land as well as to a serious consideration of carbon as an elemental substance, a necessary component of life as well as an environmental threat. This project explores various versions, contexts and transformations of carbon.

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"Carbon Analog 2"Buy it

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L.A.: Can you discuss your process for making these images or your creative process more generally?
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Ray Klimek: I can work comfortably with either digital or analog technologies depending on the needs of the specific project. For years I worked almost exclusively with a 4” x 5” view camera. With the “Carbon” series I began using digital cameras as well as scanners, which I tend to think of as merely another type of camera. In addition for “Archipelago” I appropriated images of mines and decontextualized them to suggest a number of metaphorical possibilities. More recently I have been making carbon prints, matching the actual substance of the photo to its subject.
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L.A.: Your images suggest a variety of forms from macro to microcosm, as well as from landscapes to stars to abstractions. What do you hope people see or understand when they look at your images? 
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Ray Klimek: Excellent question. I conceive of abstraction and landscape as intimately related and representing a continuum rather than a set of distinct views or practices. I see abstraction as essentially a function of distance. Moving the camera a few feet can change a relatively realistic scene into an abstract composition and vice versa. As a result the shift from macro to micro comes about quite naturally and places a viewer in a different relation to his environment. I’m reminded of one of the favorite movies of my youth, The Incredible Shrinking Man which lovingly details the odyssey of the title character through the uncanny landscape of a home gradually transformed by his physical diminishment. And also of Ezra Pound’s lovely line “The ant’s a centaur in his dragon world.” An object on one scale becomes a landscape on another and displaces the viewer from a comfortable anthropocentric view to an unfamiliar and challenging terrain. I’d hasten to add however that abstraction, for me is never a goal in itself. More than formal beauty I’m interested in how changes in scale change our perceptions and definitions of landscape itself.
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"Archipelago 1"Buy it

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"CC 1"Buy it

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L.A.: What are you busy doing in this period? Have you any future project?
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Ray Klimek: Currently I’m working on a video project in collaboration with the poet Judson Evans about Mt. Ventoux in southern France, the site of a famous climb by Petrarch in 1338, purportedly the first time someone climbed a mountain just for the sake of the view.

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"Carbon Burn"Buy it
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"CC 4"Buy it

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Ray Klimek http://rayklimek.com

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