“Animalograms” at Robert Koch Gallery

The Robert Koch Gallery is featuring the Academy Award winning artist Zana Briski’s inaugural exhibition, Animalograms through December 23.

We were first alerted to this fascinating show by a “snapshot” review in The Financial Times by staff critic, Tamara Kormornick.

Gallery spokesmen describe it this way:

“Through her one-of-a-kind camera-less photograms, Briski offers viewers a synthesis of art and the natural world, immersing viewers in the realm of wild creatures within their native habitats. The resulting images are a record of the artist’s extraordinary animal encounters, all captured without the reliance on a conventional camera amidst the backdrop of nocturnal woodlands.”

Spokesmen add that Briski’s “ingenious process” embraces the serendipitous interplay of uncontrollable and unpredictable factors.

With meticulous preparation, Briski delves into a detailed study of her subjects’ natural habitats, forging an intimate connection with their daily routines and the paths they traverse through the wilderness. The artist ventures into wild and remote locations on moonless nights, strategically positioning expansive sheets of light-sensitive photographic paper. In the presence of these majestic animals, she patiently awaits their appearances in complete darkness, at times enduring long, hushed vigils. When a wild inhabitant crosses the paper’s path, she captures a fleeting exposure using a small hand-held flash, ensuring the creature remains undisturbed.

The exposed paper is then carefully rolled and stored until Zana Briski later develops each life-size image in the darkroom and only then discovers if a successful image is created. To imbue an additional layer of depth and enhance image permanence, Briski enriches the resulting photogram by gold toning the print.