Exposure 11×14

A depiction of a work of art that is blue from it's cyanotype process with reddish magenta beet ink. The cyanotype depicted shows used needles. There is an abstract quality to the work, though the needles are recognizable.
Kimberly Hahn, Exposure 11x14 - Wind, Needles, Dust, and Foraged Ink from Plant Material 25, 2021, Installation: dimensions Variable, Each print: 11 x 14 cm., Epson Archival Ink Prints

This conceptual series’ process utilizes photographic exposure as a metaphor for the COVID-19 pandemic, where we are vulnerable to outside elements and forces beyond our control. The works reflect what the state of potentially risking exposure, while simultaneously unsure of what will result, and working on a cure looks like in a photographic form. It shows as artists, we may be ill-equipped: making and using materials gathered from our surroundings and already on hand due to supplier shortages, whilst working in makeshift spaces, rather than inaccessible workspaces.

Plant material was harvested from my garden and turned into a foraged ink. Bristol board was soaked in the foraged ink, and coated with an old, hand-mixed cyanotype solution.

Laid in a stack, the sheets were exposed one-by-one to the sun while covered with increasing numbers of needles, a reference to the vaccination effort, which is a solution the impact of which is growing but also imperfect as exposure is still present in the midst of the effort.  Wind jostled the needles and paper pieces creating documents of movement. As all of the paper pieces were exposed by removing the top one from the stack after its 20-minute exposure, some prints received multiple exposures from the prints on top failing to conceal those below.

The title refers to a standard photographic paper size: 11 x 14 in., but the prints are 11 x 14 cm to play off of art being seen online, instead of in person, and viewers perception being altered from reality when viewing works in a space devoid of actual dimensions.

Homemade beet ink was then injected onto the surface of the prints the same number of times as there are needles. The ink on the surface overshadows the images beneath and works as a metaphor for the COVID-19 virus showing it both as something random, somewhat and somewhat not controllable, and ever-present. It is the reason the vaccines must exist, but there is also a push pull between the viruses and the vaccine dependent on the community at large.

Comprised of 25 cyanotypes, this murky, moody, abstract series is as nebulous and ever-changing as the pandemic we face. Cyanotypes were made both as the chemicals were on hand and for the resultant color’s ability to convey feelings of sadness and desolation, which are prevalent during this time of social distancing and overwhelming tragedy.