April Hickox’s long-standing relationship with photography, as memory and landscape, observation and memento, strongly informs her new exhibition. Vantage presents two photographic series, Port Holes and Rain (2012), that convey mood and atmosphere by combining a water-based thematic with foregrounded use of the camera lens.
Each photo in Port Holes was shot through a lower-level porthole of a ship navigating the St. Lawrence River on its way to Montreal. The artist’s formal approach builds contrasting layers of perception into each image. The window aperture creates a heavy black border, providing a focal point for the images, which look slightly blurry due to thick convex glass, weathering, and saltwater stains. The circular frame centralizes the composition for each image, while the viewer’s eye vacillates between abstracted border and pictorial depth. For Rain, Hickox moves up to the deck of the ship, subjecting her camera to the elements head-on. Water droplets distort the surface of the image, drawing attention to the camera lens. Vantage highlights the essence of the photographic image, the unique perspective of being behind the lens, and how one can use the camera as filter.