Alison Rossiter | Lost and Found

22 September - 20 October 2012

Opening Reception: Saturday, September 22, 2-5pm

Exhibition Dates: September 22 – October 20, 2012

Artist Talk: Saturday, September 22, 1-2pm (RSVP as seating is limited)


The gallery’s third exhibition with Alison Rossiter concentrates on her found photograms, which exist as latent images until they are processed using darkroom chemistry. Working under the safelight, while in the developer, abstract images appear on surfaces of the various types of photo papers that she has collected from hundreds of sources; some more than 100 years older than the expiration date printed on their packages.  For Rossiter, a select few of those processed produce aesthetically pleasing results. The images formed are the result of the organic components of the gelatin silver papers decaying over time. Some are reminiscent of 20th Century art practice while others are arrangements of fingerprints of long deceased photographers, making this project one about archeology as well as art.


Her simple working style – buying previously opened packages of old darkroom papers and processing them without exposing them to light – belie the sophistication of these images. Indeed, it is her mastery of photographic technique that coaxes the richly dense blacks, the impressive grey tones, as well as the clean whites that produces such exquisite results. Finally, it is also her ability to recognize excellence in a handful of successes that makes this work an exceptional homage to the medium of photography.


Born Jackson, Mississippi, 1953, Rossiter has worked with the materials and processes of light sensitive, gelatin silver based photography since 1970. The darkroom is essential to her work process, whether it involves the traditional printing of negatives, drawing with flash lights, or making photograms. In 2003, she immersed herself into the field of photographic conservation as a volunteer at the Metropolitan Museum of Art in New York, which led to a profound appreciation of the history of photographic materials.


For over three decades, she has been exhibited by many major institutions around the world and her work has been collected by important private and public institutions such as: National Gallery of Canada, Ottawa; The J. Paul Getty Museum, Los Angeles; The Art Institute of Chicago, Chicago; San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, San Francisco; Nelson/Atkins Museum of Art, Kansas City; The Art Gallery of Ontario, Toronto; Philadelphia Museum of Art, Philadelphia; Vancouver Art Gallery, Vancouver; amongst others.