Photography has a purely scientific origin. Shown for the first time in 1839 by astronomer François Arago in Paris as a scientific curiosity related to "a technical act and a chemical process," his intention was simply to fix an image on a plane. This ability to freeze objects in time has dominated the photographic imagination for generations and, although few would claim that photographs leave reality unaltered, a tyranny of the figurative has taken hold of the field.
Nonetheless, a subterranean current of abstraction has coexisted alongside the mainstream since the beginning. Hints of this can be seen in the photographs of pioneers such as Daguerre and Talbot, but blossomed in the works of Aaron Siskind, Minor White, Ernst Hass, and György Kepes; artists who turned the camera on itself and made photography’s underlying elements the subject matter of their work.
It is this parallel chapter within the history of photography that interests Ariel Toledano. A Visual Communicator, graduated at the Instituto de Diseño IDD in Caracas, (institution founded by two academic groups, one just arrived from Europe that were influenced by Constructivism, Bauhaus and De Stijl movement and the other that was active in the development of kinetic art that was brewing in Venezuela), and director of Film and TV commercials since the 80’s, Toledano has been exploring abstraction in his informal and lyrical large canvass paintings since the 1970’s. His experiences with painting lead him to use still photography as a means to manipulate light and color. By utilizing camera movements as brush strokes and using prolonged exposures as a means of layering images on a still surface , his photographs invite us to reconsider the pictorial and aesthetic capabilities of the medium. Looking at them, we become aware of hidden possibilities inherent in our surroundings; a distillation of form and color that demands that we stop and take a second look at the world around us.
In the words of the artist:
My intention is not to freeze a moment in time or to highlight a particular event in a sequence. I am more interested in capturing the dynamics generated during my encounters with objects and their environments. The use of prolonged exposures allows me to interact with the subject as I create the photograph. The images are layered on the surface with camera movements acting as brush strokes on a canvass. This use of photography questions the arbitrary boundaries that culture has placed on the medium. The work is “woven” with my hands, resulting in images that are reflective and evocative; both faithful reproductions of my interactions with the subject and a testament to the power of light to transform the everyday.