If light could draw and memory speak without mediation then perhaps Gerald Slota’s photographs would be the site of their fusion. Slota’s photo-collages have an eerie relationship with family snapshots. Some are created by cutting and splicing negatives together; this particular series is sketched or painted with flashlight, chalk, or pencil during exposure, and enhanced by Slota’s interpretation of the psyches revealed.

In a 2005 review of Slota’s work in the Prague Post, Mimi Fronczak Rogers wrote that "his darkroom alchemy is heir to the automatic writing and chance operations of the surrealists . . . descendents of their exquisite corpses . . .”

Heir as well to Joseph Cornell’s boxed assemblages of memorabilia, Slota’s original images—those appearing here are altered negatives found at estate sales—feel like a piece of Americana. Familiar poses of anonymous men, women and children stand in front of modest homes or smile from cars. The resultant works, reformed and induced by the artist, are indeed the plane where radiant energy and an ever-present past have been channeled into art.

—Betsy Sussler


Gerald Slota, detail of an untitled gelatin print from the series Found, 2005. Courtesy of the artist and Hasted Hunt Gallery, NYC. Additional prints from the series appear in their entirety.

Composite photographs
Black-and-white photography
Manipulated photographs
Spring 2007
The cover of BOMB 99