Brian Novatny

Brooklyn, NY

A photograph is essentially chemical or digital process reproducing a captured image through the use of a mechanical instrument, the camera.

In the case of making an image of  a person, it is mostly meant to create a exact likeness of that person.  I have set out to subvert this notion of a likeness by replicating a hand-made “negative” based upon the photograph of known public figure. This “negative” is basically created by applying ink or oil paint onto a sheet  of clear mylar. The negative is then employed to expose  the image onto paper which has been coated with photo-sensitive chemistry, cyanotype.  Cyanotype is one of the earliest and most primitive forms of photography and it is a process which is full of imperfections. Between the hand-made negative and the cyanotype, I have added a layer of variance from the original photograph. It is my personal intervention onto the existing photograph in order to turn this person into a somewhat grotesque caricature.  I have then further morphed this new likeness into an impish mythological creature with the addition of these cartoonishly gnarled antlers sprouting from this figure’s head.  It is my intention in this piece to poke an artistic finger into the proverbial eye of this public figure.

Novatny was born in Wadsworth, OH in 1964. He earned his BFA at the Columbus College of Art and Design in Columbus, OH in 1987 and his MFA at the Yale University School of Art in New Haven, CT in 1990. His work has appeared widely in solo and group shows in galleries and museums nationally and internationally including New York, New Orleans, Atlanta, Los Angeles, Boston, Richmond, St. Louis, Novi Sad, Serbia, Berlin, Frankfurt and Beijing among others. His work is in numerous museum collections including the Metropolitan Museum of Art, NY, Memphis Brooks Museum of Art, TN, the Knoxville Museum of Arts, TN, and the Central Academy of Fine Arts in Beijing. He currently lives and works in Brooklyn, NY.

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