Astronaut (c) Sam Davis - All rights reserved
‘Return to Desert Island’ is an exhibition of work by Sam Davis – a renowned artist and full time instructor at The Art Center College of Design in Pasadena. Taking place from July 6th to August 31st at the Red Barn Art Centre of the Goldwell Open Air Museum, Rhyolite, Nevada, the event features images which combine obscure technology, science fiction and childhood fantasy to call into question notions regarding memory, nostalgia imagination and pulp/cyber folklore. Davis, a UNLV, MFA graduate, makes full use of the Red Barn Art Centre’s location in the Amargosa Desert near Death Valley National Park for what’s been termed an ‘exploration of the spectacular’. His decision to shoot film, instead of digital, allows him to reflect on reality and what is conceivable in the desert’s open expanse of space and time. The museum - which is perhaps best known for its 8 acre sculpture park including work by the late Belgian artist Albert Szukalski - will complement the exhibition with outdoor showings of classic sci-fi films. Davis used papers from two of Harman technology’s brands for the event. Specifically, he opted for Ilford Multigrade IV FB Fiber from the Ilford Photo range of monochrome products for his black and white images, and the Harman Photo Gloss FB AI from the Harman Photo range of professional inkjet media for all but two of his color shots.
As Davis himself points out: “I've been using Ilford products since I began shooting photography in the late 1980's. I've always been fond of the quality and consistency of their products and the ease with which they let me produce images." “When I began shooting in color it was a reluctant move from being a serious black and white photographer. I was never fond of the printing surfaces available and always wished there was a way to make images that looked more like dye transfer; that look of color imagery on fiber based paper. While I am ardently in favor of silver imaging, I feel that many of my images are well suited to the traditional feel of the baryta enhanced, fiber base employed by the Harman Photo inkjet range."