Jerry Birchfield

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Jerry Birchfield

Work from his oeuvre.

“Back and fill is a term that refers to a series of small movements for maneuvering a sailboat through a narrow area. It is also an idiom that refers to reneging on a previous statement or promise. It is appropriate here for describing the work of Jerry Birchfield, as both his work and process are dependent on a series of small shifts that result in its operation and form.

His photographs are as much built as they are taken. They function as a result of their material construction and as a document of their making. While subject matter is constructed for the photographs and materials are registered on film, the frame of the camera shifts, crops, translates three-dimensions into two, and functions as a documentary device. Signs all but fail, the photographs operate like sculpture, and the frame of the camera is reflected by the relationship between subject and object. Viewing the photographs becomes as equally latent with potential as pictorial and material content.

As the work maneuvers through narrow spaces, and reneges on statements it just made, sense must be made of its parts. As a result of the specificity of indexical information and the ambiguity of legibility, in combination with referentiality to myriad sources, the photographs are not allowed to reconcile. Once the operation of parts are acknowledged, a position can be identified and formed in which understanding is questioned then reaffirmed or changed.” – Jerry Birchfield

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