Notes from the Artist: “Sentient (Photographs) The ocean is simultaneously dangerous and beautiful. I was attracted to this duality and began to photograph the waves at night, a time when the ocean feels the most unknown and un-navigable. Although the ocean is physically the same at night as it is in the day, our perception of it changes in the dark. Unable to see the water at night, we feel uncertain of our surroundings. Even photography, a medium of light, captured only the white crash of waves, the lone visible sign of the water in the darkness. The white seemed sentient and in a sense was the mark by which we could know the ocean at night. Waves visualize the power of the ocean and in the black void of night the swirls of white in Sentient hint at that unseen energy we know in our minds to be present.

Sea Change (Palladium photogram) Wave after wave, the mark of the ocean is ever present and continuously changing. The variations in the images of Sea Change, a series of palladium-based photograms, reference the complex character of the ocean. Never on its own, water is always in combination with other elements or in various transitional phases. Water contains and transports many materials that are not visible to the human eye, including sand, minerals, and other sediments. To produce the images of Sea Change, I stand in the water holding light sensitive paper in the break of a wave and allow sand to form a pattern on the paper as it exposes in the sunlight. This process entwines the material aspect of the medium with the ocean and shows the trace of water. As a result, each piece becomes a unique document of the movement of matter within an individual ocean wave.”

[MORE]Melissa Fleming is interested in the duality of the visible and invisible, the relationship between realism and abstraction, and the interplay of art and science. She has a particular interest in the transient and often unseen aspects of the natural world. Her work has been exhibited and collected internationally; including the permanent collections of the University of Colorado at Boulder, the Museo de la Fotografía in Rafaela, Argentina, the Federal Reserve Bank of New York, and numerous private collections. Ms. Fleming received a MFA from the Parsons School of Design. She lives and works in New York City.


Sea Change #8, 2006
Palladium photogram of ocean wave (unique)

Sentient (I, XV, IV, XII, V, II, XX, VI, VIII, XI, XIII, III), 2006
Color Photographs

Sea Change #18, 2006
Palladium photogram of ocean wave (unique)