While photography normally maintains a distance between the representation and the thing itself, Matthew Brandt's works submerge his message in his medium. In this way, the world serves as both the inspiration and the materials.
In the photographer's upcoming exhibition, "Lakes, Trees and Honeybees" at Yossi Milo Gallery in New York, we see nature being used in unusual ways through intensive processes. The first portion of the exhibition came into being when Brandt discovered hundreds of dead honeybees strewn across a California shoreline. The artist collected the bees and photographed them in his studio, making the prints from an emulsion of the bees themselves. The bees' frozen swarm against pure white recalls a scientific experiment taking place in a vacuum, and also a surreal legend that only takes place in the pure realm of imagination.
For the "Lakes and Reservoirs" series, Brandt photographs bodies of water and then soaked the prints in the water that was captured in the photographs. The resulting landscapes look as if they have been imbued with an unearthly golden light. Finally, for "Trees," Brandt photographed and collected tree branches, which he then made to use paper. He took the remaining wood and burned it to make charcoal for ink. He silkscreened the tree images using media composed of the tree itself.
While Brandt's technique borderlines on gimmicky, his works don't depend on the inside knowledge of their construction. Instead the process seeps into the works' essence, giving them an indescribable strangeness. Through a process that could be perceived as organic or even oddly incestuous, Brandt creates hauntingly unnatural visions of nature. He turns the role of the photographer into that of a hunter gatherer meets mad scientist, changing the future of photography's possibilities along the way.