Cover image of the review
Installation view, Far From the Eye (Fingertip Glance #4), 2020-21, and Colour Bleeds and Light Folds (test strips 2013–2023), 2023. Courtesy Danica Chappell

Colour Bleeds and Light Folds

30 Sep 2023
Mejia 16 Sep - 21 Oct 2023

There are some that are in darkness, and others that are in light. On the reverse of Danica Chappell’s Far From The Eye (Fingertip Glance #4), there’s a secret, if you’re bold enough to circle around the hanging print and peek: more exquisite, stained-glass geometry lies there. Hovering prettily in space, the print stretches down from the ceiling, hanging almost to the floor; blocks of intense, heavily layered colour stack atop each other, centred on the glossy paper. Inside this serene white warehouse space, six works wrap around the walls, deep coloured and patchworked with motley variations.

Here, in her show Colour Bleeds and Light Folds, currently on display at Mejia, Chappell presents a series of photographic prints and experiments, spanning almost ten years of her practice. Cameras, notes curator Sue Cramer, are of no interest to Chappell. She works intuitively in her colour darkroom, operating in the absence of light only by touch. C-type paper is so sensitised that even a red light creates marred, foggy traces. Layering translucent coloured gels and paper shapes, Chappell creates superimposed, complex arrangements in glowing jewel tones, relying on her peculiar haptic intuition. Photograms rely on blocking and selectively withholding light, deciding what to reveal or shield, with this instinctive experimentation bypassing pedantry and exactitude. There’s a tendency to mystify the alchemy of the darkroom, and indeed optics itself: from wise lens grinders dying from silicosis to the withdrawn shutterbug, shrinking from the sun. Chappell draws back the curtain, opens the darkroom door, and exposes her process to a different sort of light.

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