Ex Libris Art
One Institution's Discards Are Another Institution's Art
As I was looking at the Sondheim Award Semi-Finalists exhibit in the Decker and Meyerhoff Galleries in the Maryland Institute College of Art's Fox Building, I noticed two pieces that had a connection with my workplace, the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Not just connnected to Pratt Library, but specifically to films discarded from my audio-visual department.
They were two photographs by Lynn Cazabon (pictured below), who is an Assistant Professor of Photography in the Department of Visual Arts at the University of Maryland Baltimore County.
Her photographs gave me a new perspective on something I look at every day without seeing what the artist saw.
DISCARDS (2004) by LYNN CAZABON
DISCARDS 3 (2004) by LYNN CAZABON
I like this one best as it's very abstract and not readily obvious what it is until you get closer. Only then do you see that it's a 16mm film reel, unspooled and arranged to look like - well, to me, a sea cone of some sort. Or a vortex.
Ms. Cazabon also submitted another film reel piece that was not part of the Sondheim Award competition. This is a photograph she entered in a video arts show called Looped: engages in time at the CAS Gallery at the University of Miami in Coral Gables, Florida.
Lynn Cazabon was featured in the May 2006 issue (#23) of The Urbanite, where the editorial staff wrote:
Lynn Cazabon’s artwork is interdisciplinary, utilizing photography, video, film, texts, and objects in her often elaborate installations. Her Baltimore/Marseille project, exhibited at the Creative Alliance in April 2005, was a cross-cultural study of the interface between individuals and technology in these two post-industrial port cities. In her stunningly beautiful Discard series, Cazabon collected deaccessioned films from the Enoch Pratt Library and photographed the unspooled films on light boxes. With this simple act she transforms the celluloid of film into delicately traced patterns that glow mysteriously yet remind us of the material nature of this soon-to-be anachronistic medium.
The Urbanite also featured stills of Cazabon's The Story of M (which looks very similar to Discard 3).
Lynn Cazabon’s website is www.research.umbc.edu/~cazabon.
*** Post-posting update: ***
Lynn Cazabon's "Discard" pieces were also included in the "Wastelands" show at Baltimore's C. Grimaldis Gallery. In his March 12, 2010 review, Baltimore Sun critic Tim Smith wrote:
Lynn Cazabon remembers lost craft in her striking "Discard" pieces, each using for subject matter films tossed out by the Enoch Pratt Free Library. Out of this celluloid refuse, the artist creates painterly photos, the swirls from unfurled reels generating a fresh animation of their own. A close look reveals individual frames of the original film, reminders of an intricate product that can now be thrown away, perhaps having been converted to some coldly digital format first, or simply deemed worthless.